MEN'S HEALTH ∙ 3 minutes read

7 fitness mistakes every man is making

By Kirsty Mason | Medically reviewed by Rupal Joshi

Regular exercise won’t just give you bulging biceps - that’s just a bonus. Sticking to a healthy fitness regime also reduces your risk of a host of health issues such as stroke, heart disease and depression. 

And it gets even better…

Exercise alters your DNA to keep you young and healthy. A large study found that highly active adults had a 9-year cell ageing advantage over those who had an inactive lifestyle.

The NHS recommends being physically active every day with at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. So, it might take commitment, courage and determination but it’s crucial if you want to seize back control of your health.

But before you kickstart your exercise routine, make sure to avoid these 7 common male fitness mistakes:

1. Disregarding flexibility

Typically, women are thought to be more flexible than men. But is this really the case?

Studies suggest that women do have greater flexibility than men, but that doesn’t mean that men shouldn’t work on their flexibility. 

Why not? 

With greater flexibility comes fewer injuries, better balance and improved posture. Plus, activities that target flexibility, such as yoga, also benefit mental health, strength and alignment.

2. Neglecting sexual health benefits

We all know that regular exercise benefits your physical and mental health, but did you know that it also benefits your sexual health? Aside from increasing stamina, specific exercises (such as pelvic floor exercises) can help combat erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.

3. Pushing too hard

Frequent exercise is highly recommended, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about rest days. Without a break, your body will burn out and you won’t allow your muscles time to rest and repair. When resting, our muscles remove excess lactate and synthesise more glycogen. Glycogen is energy stored in the muscles and when we exercise, that energy is depleted. Without taking a break, you’re likely to suffer from muscle fatigue and will ultimately gain less from your workouts.

4. Forgetting the mental health benefits

Despite the Numan survey revealing that less than 1 in 10 men choose “boost[ing] mental health” as their main reason for exercise, the psychological benefits of exercising are immense. Exercise supports healthy brain function and releases endorphins to improve mood.

Triggering ‘happy’ hormones, it’s is a good way to release stress (especially outdoor exercise where you’ll also get a hit of vitamin D).

5. Not sticking to a routine

Although it’s important not to take the joy out of exercising and do the workouts that you love, make sure you mix up your routine and work different muscle groups. The best way to do this is to create a weekly fitness regime with a variety of target areas. Don’t forget to incorporate rest days.

6. Eating the wrong food

The benefits of exercise are diminished if you load up on sugary and processed foods afterwards. Obesity puts you at risk of all sorts of health issues including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and severe COVID. To improve your diet, make easy swaps such as white bread for brown bread and cut down on sugary treats. If you’re struggling to maintain a good diet, follow one of our healthy meal plans.

7. Not taking a blood test

Understanding what’s going on in your body will give you the tools you need to choose the exercise regime that benefits you the most. A whopping 6 out of 10 adults in England have high cholesterol - and many don’t even realise they have it. It’s difficult to detect without a blood test as high cholesterol is largely symptomless but it may contribute to conditions such as erectile dysfunction. Regular exercise and a good diet can lower your cholesterol, meaning that it’s even more important to stick to a good exercise routine if you’re one of the many adults with high cholesterol.

A blood test can also measure important health biomarkers such as testosterone, liver function, thyroid function and vitamin D levels. Understanding what’s going on in your body will help you to follow a fitness routine that compliments your goals.

The bottom line

Keeping fit is crammed with benefits for your body and mental health, so it’s important to get into a good routine.

But don’t make the common fitness mistakes that men tend to make. As you work out, remember to listen to your body, eat a healthy diet and explore all areas of fitness to get the most out of your exercise regime.

Related articles:

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.