Why Men Need Yoga More Than Women Do


Why men need yogaWhen you talk about “workouts”, what do you imagine a guy doing?

He’s probably lifting a dumbbell, a barbell or may be doing a lunge.

What about Yoga for Men?

Too feminine??

We all do know yoga has benefits for both the sexes, but men still shy away from it. People give you all sorts of reasons like yoga would make men more sensitive or compassionate. Or that they should get into a pose because they started this practice in the first place.

Is that reason enough? I’m gonna tell you why exactly men need yoga more than women.

And that would be pure science and stats.

So all you men, if for once you keep your prejudices aside, and read this article, you’ll realize that you need yoga more than any woman out there.

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Why Men Need Yoga More Than Women Do_Workout Trends

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Putting due stress on “Stressed” men

75% of the general population experiences at least some stress every two weeks.[1]

Though the statistics point that men have lesser cases of stress, 20% as compared to 28% in women, I feel there is a huge difference between the magnitude of stress they feel.

When a woman is stressed, it is visible from the her constant nagging or emotional outbursts. Men, on the other hand, are known to internalize stress. They have a hard time accepting that they can’t deal with a certain thing. For obvious reasons such as being perceived as vulnerable, needy, or incompetent.

Not admitting to their stress and challenges in life makes the situation worse for them, and hence, even though the stats tell that more women are stressed than men, the level of stress felt by males is much higher.

This will become clearer when we discuss how stress affects our lives.

While men do agree that stress impacts negatively on a person’s mental and physical health, they completely deny getting affected by their own stress.[2] And this is the reason why 28% of men surveyed do nothing to control or lessen it.[3]

I read how stress manifests itself in men and what it can do to them. And then, I started to understand how stress affects men in mental and physical ways.

The rise in cases of Obesity and Diabetes

Obesity in America has doubled in the last 30 years. If we look at the current obesity data, we find men catching up to women. Currently, 33.5% of US men are obese, up from 27.5% in 2000, while 36.1% of women are obese, roughly the same as in 2000.[4]

We all do know that stress leads to problems like obesity and diabetes, as our “fight or flight” response gets activated and body goes into the mode of energy saving. This raises body fat percentage and reduces insulin sensitivity. And the result is a pot belly and permanent type II diabetes.[5]

Do you know that 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. has prediabetes? And surprising is that 90% don’t even know it![6]

Though the percentage of men and women suffering from diabetes are pretty comparable, a massive study conducted on more than a million men and women concludes that men have a tendency to develop diabetes at a much lower BMI than women (31.8 in men and 33.7 in women).[7]

Alcoholism and Male Infertility

Greater use of alcohol in men is a well known fact. But not each one of them is alcohol dependent. However, stats do tell that alcohol dependence is more visible in males than in females.

Percussion of excessive alcohol usage, what we usually feel, are increased risk of injuries, accidents, and death. But scientists emphasize on ill-effects like interference in sexual function and male fertility. Impaired testicular function, erectile dysfunction, problems with ejaculation, and testicular shrinkage are just a few names.[8]

Here, let me just reveal the figure of prevalence of these issues – 72%, where 17% is dedicated only to reduced sperm count!![9]

Enough attempts at making you panic. Now let’s focus on the solution – Yoga for men.

(I will back that up scientifically too)

Yoga for Stress

Parasympathetic nervous system is the “fight or flight” response activator in our body. Due to the kind of stressful lives we have nowadays, this system never really shuts off.

Yoga works by stabilizing it and pushing body towards parasympathetic dominance, thus helping practitioners become more resilient to stressful conditions.[10]

Another technique of yoga, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), is known to reduce medical symptoms of stress by a good 31%.[11]

I know acceptance is hard, but you know when you’re stressed. So if you’re stressed, you should go for yoga. Not acknowledging its influence early on can lead to binge eating and an increased tendency to substance abuse.

To read more on how stress affects us and role yoga plays, you could read this infographic.

Yoga for Obesity and Diabetes

Yoga’s role in sustained weight loss, waist circumference reduction and BMI improvement is well acknowledged.

While a short term yoga practice can effectively control binge eating, a long term practice ensures low risk of obesity in future.[12] A study found that yoga, when regularly practiced for more than 6 months, can inherently increase basal metabolic rate by almost 18% in men.[13]

When it comes to diabetes, a long term yoga practice (~1 year) has the potential to reduce fasting glucose levels by 50% and increase insulin sensitivity by 38%.[14]

Cutting down on body fat becomes all the more important when it begins to hit a man’s masculinity. A survey concluded that a BMI greater than 25 is linked with almost 25% reduction in sperm count and motility.[15]

Yoga for Alcohol Dependence and Male Infertility

Can you believe that men’s testosterone level drops by one percent for every year over the age of 40?[16]

Another survey has found that in the those states of US where obesity is more prevalent, sperm counts have been decreasing by as much as 1.5% each year.[17] Now, this is not at all healthy, or acceptable, so get to yoga!

Researcher Domar in his 2000 study surprised us all with the effect of yoga on male fertility. According to him more than 50% of his infertility patients had a baby within a year of yoga practice.

A 3 month practice of yoga poses along with pranayamas and meditation have been found extremely helpful in improving the psychological and biochemical parameters in chronic alcoholics.[18] If continued, the practice can aid in de-addiction and rehabilitation too.

Become a Better Male with Yoga

Other ways in which yoga can help you:

1. It improves your quality of sleep by reducing nocturnal awakenings and instances of morning sickness.[19]

2. With better control over stress and emotions, yoga enhances the general feeling of well being helping you to stay cheerful, creative and productive all day long.[20]

3. This also decreases the tendency to grab a can of beer or head towards the bar helping you become a more responsible husband and dad.

4. Find me a woman who doesn’t complain of her man’s forgetfulness. With yoga in your life, you’d improve your ability to remember important things and stay present in the moment.

5. Those who turn to other physical routines to ward off symptoms of stress, will find yoga helpful in improving their flexibility, thereby making them less prone to workout injuries.

When you’ll be healthy from outside, happy from inside and feel fulfilled in every walk of life, I wonder if there would be anyone who’d call you vulnerable.

A better control over one’s life only makes him stronger, inside out.

So, all you men out there, are you game for some “Bro-ga” today?

References:

[1] Stress facts - StressCure.com. ^Back to Top^

[2] Stress in America - American Psychological Association. ^Back to Top^

[3] Gender and stress - American Psychological Association. ^Back to Top^

[4] Obesity statistics - Obesity.org. ^Back to Top^

[5] Why stress leads to obesity - ScientificAmerican.com. ^Back to Top^

[6] Prediabtes - Preventnow.com. ^Back to Top^

[7] Logue J, Walker JJ, Colhoun HM, Leese GP, Lindsay RS, McKnight JA, Morris AD, Pearson DW, Petrie JR, Philip S, Wild SH, Sattar N, & Scottish Diabetes Research Network Epidemiology Group (2011). Do men develop type 2 diabetes at lower body mass indices than women? Diabetologia, 54 (12), 3003-6 PMID: 21959958. ^Back to Top^

[8] Adler, R. (1992). Clinical review 33: Clinically important effects of alcohol on endocrine function. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 74 (5), 957-960 DOI: 10.1210/jcem.74.5.1569170. ^Back to Top^

[9] Emanuele MA, & Emanuele NV (1998). Alcohol's effects on male reproduction. Alcohol health and research world, 22 (3), 195-201 PMID: 15706796 (pdf). ^Back to Top^

[10] Parshad O (2004). Role of yoga in stress management. The West Indian medical journal, 53 (3), 191-4 PMID: 15352751. ^Back to Top^

[11] Keng, S., Smoski, M., & Robins, C. (2011). Effects of mindfulness on psychological health: A review of empirical studies Clinical Psychology Review, 31 (6), 1041-1056 DOI: 10.1016/j.cpr.2011.04.006. ^Back to Top^

[12] McIver, S., O’Halloran, P., & McGartland, M. (2009). Yoga as a treatment for binge eating disorder: A preliminary study Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 17 (4), 196-202 DOI: 10.1016/j.ctim.2009.05.002. ^Back to Top^

[13] Chaya, M., Kurpad, A., Nagendra, H., & Nagarathna, R. (2006). The effect of long term combined yoga practice on the basal metabolic rate of healthy adults BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 6 (1) DOI: 10.1186/1472-6882-6-28. ^Back to Top^

[14] Chaya MS, Ramakrishnan G, Shastry S, Kishore RP, Nagendra H, Nagarathna R, Raj T, Thomas T, Vaz M, & Kurpad AV (2008). Insulin sensitivity and cardiac autonomic function in young male practitioners of yoga. The National medical journal of India, 21 (5), 217-21 PMID: 19320319. ^Back to Top^

[15] Hammoud AO, Gibson M, Peterson CM, Meikle AW, & Carrell DT (2008). Impact of male obesity on infertility: a critical review of the current literature. Fertility and sterility, 90 (4), 897-904 PMID: 18929048. ^Back to Top^

[16] Sengupta P (2012). Health Impacts of Yoga and Pranayama: A State-of-the-Art Review. International journal of preventive medicine, 3 (7), 444-58 PMID: 22891145. ^Back to Top^

[17] Swan SH, Elkin EP, & Fenster L (2000). The question of declining sperm density revisited: an analysis of 101 studies published 1934-1996. Environmental health perspectives, 108 (10), 961-6 PMID: 11049816. ^Back to Top^

[18] Subrahmanyam S, Satyanarayana M, & Rajeswari KR (1986). Alcoholism: newer methods of management. Indian journal of physiology and pharmacology, 30 (1), 43-54 PMID: 3818032. ^Back to Top^

[19] Tooley GA, Armstrong SM, Norman TR, & Sali A (2000). Acute increases in night-time plasma melatonin levels following a period of meditation. Biological psychology, 53 (1), 69-78 PMID: 10876066. ^Back to Top^

[20] Sharma R, Gupta N, & Bijlani RL (2008). Effect of yoga based lifestyle intervention on subjective well-being. Indian journal of physiology and pharmacology, 52 (2), 123-31 PMID: 19130855. ^Back to Top^

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Comments 1

  1. You mentioned that 75% of the general population experiences at least some stress every two weeks. Are there different yoga practices that can relieve stress or depression? My wife started teaching 5th grade at an elementary school and has been very stressed. Finding a facility that offers yoga classes might be a good option for her.

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