Men’s self-care rituals for health and success

The everyday stresses of life can take their toll on your mental and physical wellbeing. Shouldering the burden of expectations from family, friends, coworkers and managers can be draining, leaving you without the time or energy for some vital self-care.

Why Is Self-Care So Important for Men?

Looking after yourself is one of the most important things you can do, but it’s often an area that’s neglected the most. Feelings of dissatisfaction, a lack of fulfilment and poor health can be the result if your innermost needs aren’t tended to.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, downtrodden or exhausted, it’s time to fight back and start reclaiming your life. You can spend a lifetime trying to think your way into acting differently, but it’s actually a lot easier to act your way into thinking differently.

But how can you get things back on track? Where’s the best place to start? It all starts with you, my friend. It’s time to start taking care of business by taking care of yourself.

What Does Self-Care Mean for Men?

Self-care” is a phrase that’s been growing in popularity over the past few years. Our “always-on” culture has meant that we’re always being pulled away from the present moment. Working after hours or endlessly scrolling through social media eventually leaves you feeling pretty empty after the initial dopamine kick has worn off. Take note of the habits that aren’t contributing to a healthy and successful life and retrain your focus towards things that make your life better.

What Are Self-Care Rituals for Men?

While self-care can take many forms, the overarching principle is to do things that reinvigorate your senses and renew your connection with yourself and those around you. You actively engage with these planned activities, consciously undertaking each one with a vision to improve your mental and physical state.

Some practices are more glamorous and enticing than others, but it’s all about doing activities that’ll benefit your mind, body and spirit in the long run.

Take Personal Days (or Annual Leave)

Sometimes you just need a bit of space and time to get your life back together. Taking a personal day or using your holiday is a great way to take stock and complete a few tasks you’ve been putting off. Whether you need to finally fix that squeaky cupboard door or you want to spend some quality time with your friends and family, having some time for yourself can refresh your outlook on life.

Get Some Fresh Air

Getting out in the open is highly beneficial to your wellbeing. Going for a morning walk, stepping out on your lunch break or taking an evening stroll can help put your mind and body at ease. Simply being outside, breathing in the fresh air can do wonders for your mental state and help you stay supple –– especially if you’re spending a lot of time sitting down staring at screens.

Masturbate

As if we needed another excuse to have a go at pleasuring ourselves gents!

In our study on male masturbation habits, we discovered that men choose to masturbate regularly as source to relieve tension and ease anxiety – successfully doing so several times a week. With a stigma around pulling-your-pud for pleasure, we found the vast majority of men partake in the activity alone as a way to enjoy some time reconnecting with themselves.

Our study found that masturbation has some helpful benefits that may:

  • help you relax 
  • release sexual tension
  • reduce stress
  • boost your mood
  • improve sleep
  • help you have better sex
  • help you feel greater pleasure
  • give you a better understanding of what you need and want in a physical relationship

Unwind With a Massage

Massages have numerous physical and health benefits, from relieving muscle tension and improving circulation to cleansing your skin and clearing your mind. If you’re feeling like getting a massage is a bit tame for your liking, why not kick things up a notch? A tantric massage is a perfect way to break free of the mundanity of regular life.

We all have desires, we all have needs. Being able to express those feelings in a safe, judgement-free environment can be incredibly sexually liberating. You’ll be able to connect and engage with a beautiful masseuse –– or two –– who’ve mastered the tantric arts. They’ll leave you reinvigorated, energised and in a new realm of ecstasy. If you’re looking for an escape, take a step outside of your comfort zone for some seriously intense and erotic relaxation.

Do Some Exercise 

You don’t have to start training for a marathon, but even small amounts of exercise will encourage your brain to release endorphins (chemicals that reduce stress). Pushing yourself by lifting weights, running or doing bodyweight exercises –– like push-ups and sit-ups –– can have an immediate, profound and long-lasting effect on your psychological wellbeing. It’ll also help you stay physically strong and lose weight if you’re carrying some extra lockdown luggage, improving your confidence and promoting a positive body image. 

Realign Yourself with Meditation

Juggling your thoughts and managing your emotions when you’re stressed can prove tricky at the best of times. Meditation can help you become more mindful of your inner voice and bring you back to the present moment. It can be difficult to get the hang of it, so yoga or pilates classes make a great introduction to meditation. 

These activities carry all the benefits of exercise while helping you to get into a good headspace by focussing on your posture and body position. This can take a lot of focus, so it can quell any feelings of stress or anxiety that might be floating around your head.

Why You Should Practice Self-Care

Practising self-care won’t only benefit your physical wellbeing, it’ll also boost your confidence, enhance your productivity and make you more resilient in the face of challenges. Undertaking any or all of the above-mentioned activities is a sure-fire way to step up your self-care game, helping you to feel more fulfilled and in tune with your senses.

Taking care of yourself is an investment in your future, allowing you to navigate life without the unnecessary, avoidable stress that comes with a busy lifestyle. Take some time to indulge your feelings, break out of the monotony of normal life and experience incredible feelings. 

Give your immune system a boost!

A strong immune system is one heck of an advantage for healthy living and there are many ways to help strengthen your immune systems to help keep you fit, feeling your best and reduce the risk of contracting highly contagious diseases – do we need to mention that little virus that’s changing our lives? *COVID-19 cough*.

However, if you’re someone who struggles to obtain a diverse mix and frequency of vitamins from your food, have you considered supplements?

Staying fit and eating healthy—along with getting plenty of shuteye and washing your hands with surgeon-like precision—are some of the most effective ways to feel better day-to-day and avoid a miserable cold or flu. But if you really want to bolster your chances of feeling your best and keeping illness at bay this winter, a little immune system adjustment is in order.

What vitamins are important for immunity?

Vitamins C, E and zinc assist the physical barriers. Vitamins B6, B12, C, D, E, folic acid, zinc, and selenium all support immunity at a cellular level. Finally, all these micronutrients, with the exceptions of vitamin C and iron, are essential for antibody production.

As we’re into the winter months and a vaccine for ‘rona is imminent —I’ve teamed up with Lumity, to sample and boost my immune system to ensure those pesky snots and splurts stay away, as well as giving myself that extra burst to feel more lively between workouts.

Morning & Night Male Supplements

As mentioned, now more than ever it’s important to boost your immunity. Lumity’s formula includes vitamins A, C and D plus the minerals selenium and zinc, which are a powerhouse combination that contribute to immune health, helping you stay fit, healthy, and strong inside and out.

Lumity’s 2-step morning and night formula has been scientifically engineered to support men perform their best due to enhanced health and wellbeing.

Lumity’s Morning & Night Male Supplements help optimise your mind, body and performance with benefits that include; increased energy levels, improved alertness, focus, endurance and vitality, reduced tiredness, strong bones, joints, teeth and muscles, boosted immunity, reduced oxidative stress, plus healthy skin, hair and nails. Utilizing a unique blend of vitamins, minerals, essential nutrients, and amino acids, they work around the clock so that you can too.

Do the supplements work?

“Supplements won’t counteract poor eating habits, but they can help to make a healthy diet better.” – Amanda Carlson, M.S., R.D., director of performance nutrition at Athletes’ Performance.

The Male Supplements are designed to deliver multiple benefits with a targeted 24/7 nutrient rich support, hence the morning and night dosage.

It didn’t take long for me to start noticing a difference in my ability to push myself further and feel stronger each day, whilst I’ve been doing my home workout. I’ve managed to add on weight to my workout, even though I’m home and walk further every evening with the dog!

Additionally, he speed in which my beard is growing has sped up ridiculously. Before to the Lumity supplements, I would trim my beard every 2 days, but now I should be trimming every day, but maybe not as important during lockdown! (Don’t judge).

Lumity’s supplements contain one of the largest ranges of vitamins available in UK supplements, all specifically sourced from whole foods rather than cheaper alternatives. After all, what’s the point in having a healthy and natural diet if your tablets are synthetic? Lumity uses only organic ingredients to help make their product one of the best supplements for men who are concerned about what they are putting into their bodies.

Lumity’s Black Friday Offer:

Spend £50 get 20% off | Spend £100 get 30% off | Spend £250 get 40% off

Shop now.

The Ultimate Guide to Cycling for Beginners

A guest post by Catherine Bedford, Dashel.

Have you been bitten by the cycling bug? After all, the increase in take-up of cycling over recent months has been phenomenal! 

No doubt you have seen this and, perhaps, are thinking of following suit. But, if you haven’t ridden a bike since childhood, where on earth would you start in your cycling journey? Here are some things to consider when getting back into the saddle after a long time:

Which bike is best for you?

Your old BMX is probably not what you’re thinking of using to restart your cycling journey, so which should you choose? The best way to decide which bike is best for you is to think about what you will be using it for and where you are likely to be cycling. 

If you are looking for speed, perhaps to commute to and from work in the quickest time possible or if you are looking to travel far and fast on your weekend ride, then a road bike, or racer, is probably the right bike for you. They are lightweight and designed for speed. A tourer is similar to a road bike but is slightly sturdier so if you are likely to use your bike for longer journeys where pannier bags might be useful, for example if you are fishing or camping, this is worth exploring.

Alternatively, if you’re considering something a bit more adventurous and fancy taking your bike off-road in your free time, perhaps on forest trails or over hilly paths, then a mountain bike is probably what you need. These have better suspension and thick tyres designed to grip in muddy or loose terrain.

If you can’t decide or fancy a bike that you can commute to work on but ride off-road at weekends, have a look at the hybrid bikes. They are lightweight but also sturdy and comfortable and a good all-rounder.

And there is a lot more choice than these three, too. If you have a long commute but still want to cycle either side of the train ride, a folding bike is lightweight and practical, or for people with back and knee problems, it’s worth considering a recumbent bike, where you sit in a reclining position.

Your bike will be an investment so take the time to research what will suit you best. You can look online but I’d also suggest talking to the staff at your local bike shop to find out what will best suit your needs.

When it comes to cost, like anything you mostly get what you pay for. If you’re on a tight budget, do look at second hand, reconditioned bikes. They save money and are obviously also better for the environment.

Safety measures

Once you have decided on your bike you need to ensure you will be safe. This also does not need to cost the earth but do make sure you have the essentials. Starting at the top, helmets are not actually legally required but I do feel it’s important because, in the unfortunate event of an accident, it will protect you! If you think helmets mean looking silly, think again. There are some really stylish helmets on the market these days which means you can make a fashion statement while keeping safe. You can also buy helmets made of recycled materials, that can themselves be recycled at end of life.

Visibility is also key. You must have lights on your bike and, if you are likely to be riding in traffic, consider one you can wear on your (stylish) helmet too. This will make you even more visible to 4x4s and buses. Even if you’re not planning on riding after dark, it’s wise to carry something reflective with you at all times. Who knows, you might enjoy your ride more than you thought and want to go for a bit longer. You don’t have to be clad head to foot in day-glow; a simple sash that can be easily carried with you is enough to be sure you are seen.

Gloves are also a good idea, not just to keep you warm in cooler months but they will protect your hands in event of coming off your bike – these are generally the first thing you put out to save yourself. Also cycling glasses are not only good for protecting your eyes from glare and UV rays, they also protect your peepers from wind and rain, bugs and dust.

Finally, I’d also recommend you learn a little bike maintenance so you can ensure your bike is fit for purpose on a regular basis. Make sure you know how to check the air pressure in your tyres, test your brakes and ensure you have sufficient lube on your chain. Again, a good bike shop should talk you through the basics when you buy.

Geared up

Firstly, don’t think you need to go and buy loads of Lycra before you can get on your bike. Indeed, you can ride in your everyday clothes, up to a point, although you should avoid heavy shoes or loose laces and baggy skirts or trousers which could get caught up the pedals or chain. Wear light and comfy clothes and avoid things like jeans for long cycle rides as thicker denim can chafe after a while. If you already own leggings for yoga or running they’ll be perfect.

Of course, if you get seriously involved in speed riding you may want to buy clothes and gear that aid with streamlining. On the other hand, if you are commuting, that is probably the last thing you want to do. Instead, look out for cycling gear specifically designed to transition between bike and office. Not only can you get helmets that don’t cause ‘helmet hair’, there are stylish jackets which look great in a meeting but glow at night when you’re riding home. Similarly, there are some amazing shoes out there, perfect for cycling in that really look the part when you are sitting at your desk. There are even pannier bags available that you can take off the bike and hide the clips so you look like you bought from a local designer boutique. Similarly, this gear is great if you are cycling to meet friends for a pub lunch, cream tea or picnic.

Do invest in some rain gear – after all, this is England. A lightweight jacket and over-trousers are good to have to hand and a poncho is great for showery weather too.  

Avoid the aches and pains

Taking up a new physical activity will almost always leave you with some aches and pains, where you are using muscles that haven’t been worked for a while. Unfortunately, cycling has some additional potential discomforts.

You may find that you are saddle sore to start with. Check your saddle is in the right position and, after a while, as your muscles and tendons get accustomed to it, this ‘pain in the bottom’ will abate. In the meantime, you should stand on the pedals at regular intervals to give you some relief. It may also help to invest in underwear with minimal seams or even some specialist shorts. If the discomfort does not improve you might need to think about a different saddle.

You can also find you have discomfort in other parts of your body; neck, lower back, hands, feet and legs. These are almost without fail due to your position on the bike and the handlebars and seat not being in the optimal position. Again, it is worth asking the shop that you buy your bike from to help you get this correct in the first place or ask advice from friends who have cycling experience.

Find the right route

Whether you are cycling to work or for pleasure, consider sensible routes when starting out. You do not want to begin your new pastime weaving in and out of inner-city traffic. Not only is it dangerous to do so without experience, you are highly likely to put yourself off before you start. Try some rural off-road routes to start with. When riding to work, ask about and find some quieter routes that go through parks, for example, or beside the river. It may take a little longer but it will be safer and far more pleasant. Also consider the difficulty of your route. Novice cyclists are unlikely to enjoy hilly rides initially and would be much more sensible to opt for easy terrains and low gradients. You can always build up as you gain confidence and fitness. Best of all, use your early days cycling to explore local routes and find some you really enjoy.

These are all things to consider when you take up or resume cycling after a long absence. Don’t rush into it or think you need to have the full kit before you start. Ease yourself in, get comfortable and, as your cycling journey continues, you will learn what your mode of cycling is; whether you are a speed freak or an off-road adventurer, someone who loves being closer to nature on rural rides or social cyclist; the list goes on. Wherever your cycling journey takes you, I’m sure you will have a wonderful time!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Catherine Bedford is Founder of Dashel. Dashel offers a range of slim, ventilated, lightweight cycle helmets manufactured in the UK. With a distinctive urban feel Dashel Helmets are made from recyclable materials – ensuring that they are low impact at the point of manufacture and produce very little waste at the end of life. The new Re-Cycle helmet will be ground down into new helmets at the UK factory when it is finished with. The helmets are portable, sold packaged in a handy rucksack that means there is no superfluous packaging. They come in an array of classic colours. Choose from black, blue, sage green and red. Dashel helmets are £79 and available from all good cycle shops and online at Dashel.co.uk.

Instagram | Twitter |Facebook |Pinterest

How to get on your bike and where to begin with cycling

You can’t have missed the bike revival that has taken place over recent months. With massive numbers of people cycling during lockdown for their daily exercise, followed by people rejecting tubes and busses in favour of a bike when commuting to work.

I believe the numbers of cyclists can only increase further as the government is investing heavily in cycling infrastructure, as well as other incentives to encourage people to get back in the saddle, get fitter and avoid public transport. 

So, here’s my guide to starting out if you’re considering taking up cycling to work or for fun, post Coronovirus:

GET YOUR BIKE RIGHT

If you are buying a new bike, first consider the kind of riding you want to do and the typical route. If it’s hilly – make sure you get a bike with enough gears to handle it, if you’re commuting then 3-6 gears should be enough to get you up and down most town and city hills. If you are looking to road or mountain bike you will want to consider more than 10 gears to manage the rougher terrain. 

Next, consider the weight of the bike. Modern road bikes are all designed to be very light so even the heaviest will do you well – but aim to go as light as possible. For commuter bikes, the weight can be an issue. The heavier Dutch-style bikes often look very beautiful but are hard work if you’re peddling uphill, lifting it up canal path stairs or storing it in your flat. So, factor in the weight of the bike if you have a lot of hills to conquer or you need to store it inside. 

If you already have an old bike, dust it off, check the brakes and the gears are working properly and enjoy it. Getting on the bike is the only way to know what kind of cycling you enjoy. 

PLAN YOUR ROUTE

The first thing I’m asked when I mention that I’ve cycled around London for 15 years is; “aren’t you scared of the traffic?” I’m not. But that’s because I always pick my route carefully – even now.  

The route is crucial to an enjoyable journey. The main highways and roads might be the most direct path but they will not be the most pleasant. Always take the backstreets; they are quieter, safer and much more interesting as you get to discover parts of your town/city you would never have seen before. 

Fortunately, picking your route has never been easier. There are lots of cycle routes now across the country and they are definitely worth taking advantage of. Most city and the country routes are in cycle maps that are easy to follow. For your local paths have a look on your council’s website – most of the maps are available there. 

Give yourself an extra 15 minutes to cycle, take the slightly longer, quieter route, get yourself lost and, most importantly of all, enjoy it. 

LOOK AFTER YOUR BACK

Get the bag off your back and onto the bike! Not only does it take the strain off your spine, it also reduces back sweat – something a backpack seems to create in very un-natural quantities. The solution is a pannier rack. They attach over the back wheel of your bike and you can attach pannier bags and baskets on them to carry whatever you need. As the rack is on the back of your bike, not the front, and is low on the bike, it doesn’t affect your steering or stability, so it will help you feel more secure on your bike. 

Hill & Ellis has a range of stylish bike bags that all attach securely to your pannier bike rack. They are also designed to look smart so are the perfect accessory for the work commute. 

JOIN A GROUP

If you still want a bit more Dutch courage (so to speak) before cycling on your own, then you need your own personal peloton (cycling group). Cycling is really friendly, with lots of groups keen to help other cyclists get started with advice, buddies and supported rides. There are groups all over the country, so you’ll definitely find one in your local area. 

The Breeze network offers women’s only rides and commuting training rides to help build confidence for cycling to work, they will even arrange a group to cycle with you to your office for the first couple of rides.

British Cycling also has beginners guide on their website for the A-Z of what you need to know before taking to the saddle.

But most of all don’t rush. Enjoy it. Life from the saddle will always make you smile. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Ellis is founder of Hill & Ellis, which produces a range of high quality, stylish cycle bags. Each bag, designed in the UK, is created to transition perfectly from home to bike to boardroom to bar. They are functional, fashionable and hard wearing.  There’s plenty of space inside for a laptop and other essentials, and each bag comes with patented pannier clips that fit almost any bike, allowing you to clip the bag on and off quickly and easily. 

Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

5 Benchmarking tests to track your fitness

At points throughout your training regime, you may want to benchmark your fitness to track your progress. This calls for fitness challenges that will push you to the very limit.

Here are some workouts to make you feel the burn.

The fast shuttle to fitness

Shuttle runs are a fast way of attaining fitness through short bursts of sprint running. They help to improve your acceleration and speed, as well as your anaerobic fitness. After placing markers at 10, 20 and 30 metres, you should sprint to the 10m marker first, touch the floor and run back to your starting position. Then repeat this with the 20m and 30m markers. Go back to the 10m marker, and repeat the whole set four times.

You can always time yourself to try to get quicker with every set, and vary the shuttle runs by taking giant strides, jogging with high knees or skipping, instead of sprinting.

At the first bleep…

As with the shuttle runs, you will need a flat, non-stop surface for the bleep test, or the 20m multistage fitness test. You will have to run continuously between two markers 20 metres apart in time to recorded beeps.

At the start, the gap between beeps or bleeps is quite large, and so your running speed is quite slow, but after about a minute, a sound indicates an increase in speed, bringing the beeps closer together.

After each minute, the gap between beeps decreases. If you reach the marker before the beep, you have to wait until it sounds before you turn and continue; if you fail to make the marker before the beep, then you are given a warning and you must continue to the marker and turn and try to catch up with the pace with the sounding of two more beeps. If you fail to reach the marker twice in a row after a warning, the bleep test is stopped.

Any score above 13 is considered excellent. A maximal test requires a good level of fitness, and if you wear a heart-rate monitor, you’ll have a better idea of when you’ve maxed out.

Buckle up, Bronco

The pretty vicious Bronco fitness test has made life hell for many in the past, so this will give you a great benchmark for your fitness. The idea is to run shuttles of 20, 40 and then 60 metres, then repeat the set five times, trying to get under five minutes.

This will test your anaerobic capacity, your motor skills, your running efficiency, and your turning ability – the legendary Kiwi Richie McCaw recently managed a personal best in the Bronco fitness test of four minutes, 56 seconds, so you’re going to have to push yourself right to the very limit to break the five-minute mark.

The great news is that your whole team can do the test and work to maximum effort together, motivating one another. Give each other encouragement and consistent instructions before, during and after this tough benchmark test.

Doing the crab walk

This is a compound exercise that works many muscle groups, as well as working on your cardiovascular fitness, co-ordination and mobility. Balance on your hands and feet, with your front facing the ceiling and your hips forwards, so that you form a bridge.

Take a few crabby steps backwards and forwards to elongate your body – your triceps, shoulders, abs, back muscles, lats and hamstrings will get a thorough workout from this unusual position.

Join up with the resistance runners

Coaches will often swear by resistance running to make simple sprint drills that much harder. Wearing several rugby shirts or one soaked in warm water will teach you to maintain your running style under pressure.

You can also try carrying water bottles filled with sand during the shuttle runs to build upper-body strength, or give a teammate a piggyback or a fireman’s lift – don’t turn too much, though. Stay running in one direction!

The beginners guide to hiking and walking

Exploring the outdoors is for everyone, and if you’re just starting to make walking or hiking a more regular thing then we have some handy facts and tips that can help you enjoy it as much as possible.

Hit the hills, don’t sweat the small stuff!

Why choose walking?

Walking is simple, free, and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier.

Sometimes overlooked as a form of exercise, walking briskly can help you build stamina, burn excess calories and make your heart healthier.

You don’t have to walk for hours…even a brisk 10-minute daily walk has lots of health benefits and counts towards your NHS recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise.

Take yourself off to a local trail in the country and you’ll be presented with so much beautiful, open space, you won’t quite know what to do with it!

Get closer to nature

In the country, you are surrounded by the singing of the birds rather than by the noise from the traffic. The countryside is surrounded by nature which has a soothing effect on both the mind and the body. A good walk can do wonders for your mental wellbeing. But it’s not just about the occasional one-off feel good factor. Being active has a whole range of benefits when it comes to mental wellbeing.

It improves self-perception and self-esteem, mood and sleep quality, and it reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue.

But, what to wear?

The first question everyone will ask themselves before they head out on their first hike is, ‘what should I wear?

If you have little experience with walking or preparing for the outdoors in general, it can be daunting to kit yourself out properly on your own. Working from top to bottom, we have put together a guide to clothing and accessories for walking and hiking, so you know before you go.

Your Upper Half

Your first must-have is a waterproof jacket which will keep you protected, dry and comfortable when zigzagging through forests, hills and lakesides.

We all know how quickly the weather can change, and at higher altitudes, a sudden shift in weather can be dangerous if you aren’t appropriately prepared. Look for a good waterproofness level combined with significant breathable properties, as this will help you stay fresh when you’re on the move – ideal for brisk treks and mountain climbs.

Your mid-layer is just as important as the outer layer, as it insulates heat and can be used as a light cover-up when the weather is fine. A fleece zip-up is a good choice of mid-layer, as it is a multi-use garment and provides protection from icy winds and temperatures.

base layer will complete your gear for your upper half, wicking away moisture when you’re getting hot and sweaty from exerting yourself, yet still insulating your body heat when you’re cooler.

Your Lower Half

A pair of quality walking boots to your outfit to make sure that your feet are able to tolerate the strains and stresses of walking long distances across diverse terrain. Trainers or slip-on shoes just won’t cut it on the hills and mountains, plus varied trails below. You will need a pair of boots that has a rugged grip sole, good support around the ankle and preferably a waterproof outer layer.

From the daily commute to a day out reaching that elusive peak, our rucksacks will see you through. Each is designed with comfort, durability and performance in mind. Crammed with great details like breathable air mesh and convenient pockets they’re guaranteed to make life a little easier wherever you’re heading.

Make sure you have the best clothing and equipment possible for your walk or hike.

The beginners guide to hiking and walking high street gent

Things to consider as a beginner

First-time hikers can often forget essential things that might not be the end of the world but can maybe make life a little more difficult uphill. So, here is what to do to avoid trouble…

  • Take plenty of water with you
  • Make sure your phone is fully charged (and invest in a portable charger)
  • A traditional paper map will never let you down
  • A packed lunch and/or snacks will provide a much-needed energy boost
  • Pack some plasters, bandages and an emergency blanket (for those longer and steeper walks)
  • Do not wear trainers (more so for hiking than walking)
  • Bring a spare hoodie or fleece in case it gets cold
  • Let someone know where you are hiking before you go
  • Don’t rush it! You can go at your own pace!

Where to go?

Before you head out, ask yourself these questions to help you find the perfect trail and make sure that you’re 100% prepared:

  • How long do you want to be out for?
  • Are you going to take friends, go solo, or hike with the family?
  • Do you know the route?
  • Will you be back before dark?
  • Have you told someone where you’re going?

These questions will help you pick the right trail or route and ensure you stay safe as you go. The last question there is vitally important; before you leave civilisation, make sure that you tell a friend where you’re off to, how long you plan on being away and remember to give them your contact number.

In need of some inspiration of where to walk? Take a look at the Top 15 walks in the UK that you can enjoy with the family.

The beginners guide to hiking and walking high street gent men walking through the hills

Are your gym clothes too big or too small?

Almost Half Of British Gym Goers Wear Clothes Either Too Big Or Too Small For Them!

A new study has found that as many as 47% of Britons who go to the gym at least once a month are wearing clothes the wrong size for them, with slightly more wearing clothes that are too big for flexibility and movement. Those wearing smaller sizes admitted that they’d gained weight or purchased the wrong size clothing, whilst others bought smaller as motivation to get into shape.

Britons prefer athleisure wear to purpose-built gym gear, but it seems that almost half are choosing to wear the wrong size, whether they consider it to be practical, gained weight and haven’t bought the next size up or are doing so for motivation.

The team behind www.MoneySavingHeroes.co.uk conducted the research as part of an ongoing study into Britons’ fitness goals. 2,438 respondents aged 18 and over, all of whom stated that they have a gym membership and attend at least once a month, were quizzed about their gym usage and expenditure.

Whilst purpose-built gym clothing is popular with one in five British gym-goers (19%), 74% prefer to wear athleisure. Asked why this was a popular choice, Britons felt the ‘selection to choose from was higher’ (41%) and that they like ‘being able to wear it inside and outside the gym’ (33%).

Interestingly, 47% admitted that they weren’t wearing the correct size clothing to the gym, with 53% of those wearing clothing that was too large and 47% wearing clothing that was too small.

Asked why they were wearing clothing that was the wrong size, the top reasons for wearing larger clothing were found to be:

  1. For flexibility and movement – 34%
  2. To hide my body shape/size – 30%
  3. To appear smaller – 18%

Likewise, the top reasons for wearing clothing that was too small were found to be:

  1. I gained weight and didn’t want to buy bigger clothes – 31%
  2. The sizing was incorrect but I didn’t return them – 26%
  3. I bought smaller to incentivise me to lose weight and train harder – 12%

George Charles, spokesperson for www.MoneySavingHeroes.co.uk  commented:

“Gym gear can often be an expensive business, but it’s always good to remain practical over stylish when it comes to exercise. If your clothing doesn’t fit you could run the risk of hurting yourself or even embarrassing yourself. You don’t have to spend a lot to have quality gym wear; supermarkets and budget brands do some really fantastic gym wear. Although if you do have the budget, there are some really great fitness and athleisure wear brands available. Feel free to shop around, try before you buy and see what discounts are available – it’s better than revealing more than you’d like to in the gym.”

Hit up some of our other articles on sportswear, sports underwear and feel better equipped at the gym, here.

The Men’s Guide to Creating a Perfect Morning Routine

Men's guide to creating a perfect morning routine

Whether you’ve been up all night partying, watching the Super Bowl or nurturing your crying child back to sleep, waking up the next morning might be harder than you think. Sometimes getting up takes more than twenty minutes, but the extra time you take doesn’t guarantee you won’t feel sleepy anymore. That’s why you should come up with a proper morning routine – a sequence of things that will make you feel energised and alert, both mentally and physically. If you’re not sure what some of these things might be, here are a couple of suggestions every man should try out.

Drink proper coffee

While certain experts claim you shouldn’t drink coffee immediately after getting out of bed, the truth is that this soothing drink is sometimes the best way to wake up and boost your energy level. Besides improving your focus, a cup of coffee in the morning comes with a number of other benefits, from helping you burn more fat and reducing your stress to protecting you against dangerous health conditions such as Alzheimer’s and depression. That’s why you should definitely think about starting your day with a hot cup of coffee and you’ll notice the amazing benefits in a matter of days!

Apply healthy skincare

 

This isn’t something most men love doing, especially when they’re in their 20s, but taking care of your skin is the only way to make sure it stays fresh, healthy and young in the decades before you. Just because it’s impeccable at the moment doesn’t mean you’re not going to experience certain dermatological problems in the future, and you should do whatever you can to postpone them. And the way to do so is by applying proper skincare products in the morning and staying committed to realising this goal. From different moisturisers to aftershave balms, these are the things you should always keep in your medicine cabinet. Finally, don’t forget to get healthy serum for skin that’s going to make your skin appear significantly younger in a matter of days by feeding it helpful nutrients and hydrating ingredients.

Hit the gym

Now that you’re all full of energy and ready to start your day, what’s better than hitting the gym and working out before going to work? You don’t have to spend hours lifting weights, but a simple 30-minute session is going to be quite enough, especially if you manage to squeeze in three or four of these a week. Staying physically active is the best way to pump blood into your veins and stop being sleepy, so drag your body to the gym and start moving. Alternatively, you can go for a jog or ride a bike for 45 minutes, and you’ll be ready to conquer the world after that!

Listen to music

If you live alone or your family doesn’t mind you listening to loud music in the morning, you should try this idea as well. Play your favorite tunes, turn up the volume and start your day with a dose of positive energy blasting from the speakers. Anything from hard rock and hip-hop to techno and drum ’n’ bass will do the trick and slowly become an irreplaceable part of your morning routine. Music makes you feel better and helps you focus on what’s important in your life, and this is exactly what you need early in the morning.

Wake up on time

Speaking of early in the morning, waking up on time is the essential part of a great day. Managing to do a number of boring chores before having to go to work is essential if you want to feel productive, useful and active – the more you manage to do in the morning, the less you’ll have to deal with afterwards. That’s why getting up at the crack of dawn comes with a number of surprising benefits, giving you enough time for your morning routine and making your day longer, which means you’ll have more time for your family and friends.

Coming up with a perfect morning routine might seem hard at first, but it’s actually easier than you think – just focus on what makes you happy and start doing these things before heading to work, and you’ll be feeling better all day long.

Must Have Men’s Yoga Clothes Made Easy

MUST HAVE MEN'S YOGA CLOTHES MADE EASY, Men’s Yoga, Yog clothes, Shorts, Stretch, Eco Friendly, Yoga for men

Men who are shifting to yoga from their regular fitness routines tend to think that their baggy sweats will work just as well in their yoga workouts. While this may hold true in some cases, they are typically not suitable for yoga because the material is either not stretchable or breathable enough.

When it comes to men’s yoga clothing, two things should be kept in mind: they should be able to absorb sweat (to prevent sweat from dripping onto the mat) and they should allow enough room for movement to let you do a wide variety of yoga poses.

While you might see a lot of men sporting shorts in yoga class, there is a reason for yoga pants. In yoga, whether it’s hot or not, pants work to absorb the sweat, so when you get into an arm balance, you can hold it for longer without the sweat on your knees or legs causing your arms to slide off of them. And besides absorbing your perspiration, they also keep you covered when you are in the most vulnerable positions.

Yoga pants are meant to be comfortable, efficient at absorbing sweat, lightweight, and functional. This means the fabrics used need to provide stretch, while the design must permit you to get in and out of the poses with ease—to the point where you don’t even realize you have them on.

Surely, people have different tastes and needs when it comes to yoga. Some want a pair that can go from class to a cafe. Others would like the pant to absorb sweat like no other.

What you wear is important!

You can choose to wear shorts, pants, or cropped pants for bottoms, depending on your preference, or the type of yogic practice you will be doing. Those doing Bikram or Hot yoga may want to go for shorts to allow heat to escape the body faster, since you will be doing breathing exercises and asanas in a heated room. Typically though, men wear long or cropped pants for doing yoga. Cropped hemp pants tend to have wide-legged seams, which is not that recommended for beginners, especially if they decide to do faster paced styles of yoga.

If you decide to wear shorts to your yoga sessions, do everyone a favour and choose a pair that is sweat absorbent AND fits just right. You wouldn’t want to have any incidents of “indecent exposure” while you’re bending over and doing all types of lower body stretches. Pants can be made of any of the following materials: cotton, a combination of cotton and lycra, hemp, and other organic materials. Organic yoga clothing has gotten quite a following because one mantra of the yoga tradition is respect for all forms of life, and it helps capture that feeling of being close to nature.

Here are two of our top pics from leading eco-friendly activewear brand OHMME.

Yoga Bottoms

MUST HAVE MEN'S YOGA CLOTHES MADE EASY, Men’s Yoga, Yog clothes, Shorts, Stretch, Eco Friendly, Yoga for men

The DHARMA-GRAPHITE PANTS have no restrictions, improved grip, perfectly fitted, no sweat patches.

Like the classic Dharma, these pants are designed for comfort in your yoga practice. Our yoga pants for men do not bunch up and give you excellent support. Whether rolled up at a 3/4 length for a tighter feel or rolled down to contain your body heat during practice. Giving you grip during balances and twists, these pants offer you excellent mobility thanks to the sturdy stretchy material, strong seams, and the reinforced gusset panel around the crotch.

This strong polyester jersey is resistant, elastic, and feels great to the touch. And because of the fabric’s low level of absorption, sweat simply evaporates. Fast drying and wrinkle resistant, this sweat wicking garment will keep its shape. Its fast-drying properties allow these pants to evaporate sweat quickly and are really easy to care for. Looking for something full-length and lightweight but with even more space to move? These guys are your match!

Yoga Shorts

MUST HAVE MEN'S YOGA CLOTHES MADE EASY, Men’s Yoga, Yog clothes, Shorts, Stretch, Eco Friendly, Yoga for men

2-DOGS LINEN SUPPORT SHORTS are stretchy and silky, lined with a soft compression layer for total freedom of motion.

With an integrated and snug underlayer, the 2-Dogs Yoga Shorts for men provides complete flexibility. The material is stretchy and the cut is fitted with an extra panel from the crotch all the way down the inside of the leg, removing the strain from the seams and keeping your shorts in place for maximum body mobility. Keeping you comfortable and covered in all your poses and movements.

Their tight but stretchy fit allows for excellent blood flow.

2-Dogs are made for all body shapes and types of workout allowing you to focus on your practice and forget about what you are wearing.

Primarily designed for demanding hot yoga classes and animal flow practice, the 2-Dogs Yoga Shorts are made from a resistant, silk-like polyester jersey with a soft touch and durable elasticity. With sweat-wicking, fast-drying, and wrinkle-resistant properties these shorts are perfect for your active life.

Yoga Tops

MUST HAVE MEN'S YOGA CLOTHES MADE EASY, Men’s Yoga, Yog clothes, Shorts, Stretch, Eco Friendly, Yoga for men, kettle bell, kettlerciss

Basically, men can choose to wear either a t-shirt or a sleeveless top (sando or singlet) when practising yoga. Going topless, though allowed by some instructors and studios, is not really that advisable because it increases the possibility of soaking your mat in sweat. Different materials are used for making men’s yoga clothing tops, although cotton is still the most popular choice because of its sweat absorbing capacity and its light weight.

OHMME is an eco-friendly men’s activewear brand. The clothes have been made in the eco-friendliest way, and designed for movement. They feature all the sweat-wicking features required of men’s active wear by using GREEN DEFENCE in place of heavy metals, which can be toxic both to the environment and to the wearers skin.

Burning the candle at both ends?

Sleepy man tired in bed

Burning the candle at both ends is symptomatic of modern life. Relentless pressure to excel in the workplace has driven 13 per cent of us to put in at least 49 hours per week at the office, and 75 per cent of us manage to do so on far less than eight hours of sleep.

Throw in the occasional bender, a gruelling workout schedule and the plate-spinning act that is your social life and it’s no wonder that “fatigue” is more of an epidemic than an excuse.

The telltale signs of tiredness run the gamut from the familiar (puffy eyes, sunken skin) to the plain dangerous (slow reflexes, hallucinations), and are often accented by a dangerously short temper. In the interest of preserving your health – and, indeed, that of those that come within punching distance – we have compiled some tried and tested life-hacks to keep fatigue at bay.

LAY OFF STIMULANTS

A tired looking man trying to keep eyes open

It may sound counterintuitive, but relying on stimulants to help you make it through the day isn’t the wisest idea when you’re running on empty. Jump-starting the body with caffeine or, indeed, the diabetic nightmare that is Red Bull will only ensure you crash ­– messily, possibly perilously – a matter of hours after consumption.

Energy is a cellular function that depends on the vitamins and minerals you have in your diet, and not on the amount of refined carbs you can scarf down in the blink of an eye. Ergo, when cells are fuelled in the correct way – ie, on a varied Low-GI diet – you feel energised and ready to take on the world. If your diet is poor, they’re likely to go out of business and leave you feeling lethargic and groggy.

A good-quality supplement will stand you in good stead.B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that the body cannot store for rainy days, so you’ll need to incorporate it into your pill-popping regime or, better yet, get it in injection form. Alternatively, The Nue Co.’s Energy Food + Prebiotic covers all bases with an organic blend of naturally uplifting maca, beetroot and goji berries. Brown rice protein delivers a steady supply of energy throughout the day while prebiotic inulin stabilises blood sugar levels so you don’t crash and burn after lunch.

Another alternative, if you’re dedicated to hitting the gym still, is a protein from P-FIT P-FIT offer the highest quality grass fed whey protein you can buy, in which Taking the right amount, at the right time, can re-energise, recharge and help shape your body: helping you look and feel better than ever.

HIDE THE SIGNS

Young man yawning in front of computer screen with a coffee.

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then your soul is desperately sleep-deprived and agitated. The skin that surrounds your peepers is so delicate and thin that even the slightest hiccup in your sleeping schedule will show up in the form of puffiness or, worse yet, dark circles.

Puffiness is a sign of fluid retention in the tissue, a condition that is exacerbated by a diet rich in salt and alcohol. The fluid can be drained by placing two freezer-fresh metal spoons on your eyes (or far more easily with the rollerball product listed below). Dark circles, on the other hand, are usually caused by dilated blood vessels that become visible beneath translucent skin.

In terms of curative solutions, an anti-fatigue eye treatment is the one specialist unguent that should be in your grooming routine. The cool Anti-Fatigue Eye Gel by Clinique For Men will help drain excess fluid while revitalising the senses.

Energise and refresh your complexion with Grüum’s energising gösta facial tonic – this little bottle could be the answer to many of your skin nightmares, reducing unwanted shine and preventing clogged pores. gösta’s natural ingredients are kind to your face, with a light and zesty citrus scent.

LEARN THE ART OF POWER NAPPING

Home Interior, Living Room, Stomachache, People, Adult

Afternoon siestas make perfect sense. A little power nap has been shown to improve logical reasoning, reflexes, mood, memory and learning. Crucially, naps also sort out tiredness more effectively than a long, deep snooze. Much like interval training, the trick to power napping lies in the duration and frequency of the naps. Sleep scientists concur that an efficient snooze should be somewhere been 10 and 30 minutes; anything more will cause you to feel even more sluggish than you were to before, a condition called “sleep inertia”.

The power nap was made socially acceptable after a Nasa study in 1995 that analysed the impact of siestas on 747 pilots. An average rest time of 25.8 minutes “demonstrated vigilance performance improvements from 16 per cent in median reaction time to 34 per cent in lapses compared to the No-Rest Group.” So, if HR haven’t installed sleep pods in your office yet, get on their case.

Our top tip is give yourself 30 mins to lie-down, set your alarm, if you’re really tired you’ll be asleep in 4 to 5 minutes and when you awake 25-26 minutes later you won’t feel groggy and tired, just refreshed!

So…whilst we don’t recommend burning the candle at both ends for a sustained period, if you are, hopefully the above will help you!