5 Manly Pastimes That May Actually Be Good For You

Manliness, in the modern world, is synonymous with stupidity, bravado and unhealthiness.  I don’t know why, but it is. Manliness is an Old Spice commercial, a burger with 6 patties and a pound of bacon, and a gun that’s so powerful it shoots smaller guns.  It’s the curious, kitschy joke we all take part in as part of the bro mentality.   But as it happens, some of that horseshit isn’t even horseshit.  Turns out our manly past times may actually be good for us!  Not all of them, but some!

5. Bars

Do you like going out to bars, having a pint of beer, hanging out with friends and silently, desperately ogling women in a respectful yet longing way?  Of course you do. And you should, it’s a biological imperative!  Studies showmen that socializing in bars has a positive effect on men’s mental health as it allows them to open up and share emotions, something traditionally considered “unmanly” and generally avoided in other circumstances.

Of course a potential downside of buying rounds is the damage you’re doing to your liver, but in principal the idea is good for lifting one’s spirits and developing a sense of camaraderie.  Men surveyed said it gave them a chance to unravel. So having Frasier hanging out in Cheers all those years wasn’t so insane after all.


4. Video Games

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Long the scapegoat of real life violence, video games get a bad rap in the media, generally from uninformed politicians and the odd dimwit who gets on the news because they run some group that’s convinced Grand Theft Auto was designed by the anti-Christ.

The flip side of the coin is that actual science has a different view of video games.  Turns out gaming can improve your vision, spatial awareness, mental focus and your ability to both estimate on the fly and multitask.

According to tests, gamers who played action games four days a week for an hour or so are “better than non-gamers at rapidly processing complex information, estimating numbers of objects, controlling where their attention was focused spatially, and switching rapidly between tasks.” 

So basically Call of Duty makes your brain awesomer.


3. Fatty Food

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Thanks to things like Man vs Food and Epic Meal Time we’re all pretty well convinced that a real man isn’t a vegan or allergic to gluten.  A real man eats food by the pound, and it’s grilled or fried.  That may be bullshit, but the stereotype is prevalent – you’re suppose to want bacon and meat and large portions of it because who cares why.

If you’re secretly desperately afraid of this kind of diet and its potential to explode your arteries, cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra has good news for you.  According to him, high fatty foods, things like butter or cheese or eggs are not bad for you.  In fact, they may be good for your heart and reduce risk of a cardiac event.

The doctor believes saturated fats have been demonized since the 1970s and we often focus on processed fats, which are much different than the fats you’re going to find in your average brick of cheddar. Malhorta thinks cutting sugar is a much more important step towards being healthy than cutting fats and that the low-fat trend is mostly a marketing plot, one that relies on selling you products that have reduced fat and increased sugar which is contributing to the obesity epidemic and rise in diabetes rates.  So screw that, eat some butter.


2. Multiple Partners

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Explaining this one to your significant other may be harder than I’m making it seem, but go with me – there are a small percentage (5%) of people out there in nonmonogamous relationships who have been studied by psychologists and the general consensus is that, if you’re in an open relationship, or one with more than one partner, you’re actually better at relationships that the average monogamous couple. 

If you’re in an open relationship you communicate way better, you tend to identify as a more open person, more interested in new experiences and are probably well educated.  You also talk a lot about your desires and your feelings in an honest way, something researchers feel would be much more beneficial for the average monogamous couple.  After all, if you consider stats on adultery, which generally say over 40% of people in relationships admit to it, and compare that to relationships in which the idea of adultery doesn’t even come into play, then it’s likely this polyamory thing is on to something.  This kind of relationship also doesn’t tend to have any jealousy, quite the opposite.  Now imagine a monogamous relationship in which being jealous and cheating were impossible.


1. Masturbation

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Not so long ago there was a popular myth that masturbation would cause you to go blind.  The internet as a visual medium is a testament to how untrue this is.  But there are still a lot of stigmas associated with masturbating, especially among older people.

Australian research has indicated regular masturbation can actually improve your health and help prevent illnesses such as diabetes, prostate cancer, insomnia and depression.  It also lowers stress levels, blood pressure and pain levels.  It’s basically the best thing you can do by yourself, expect for maybe playing video games.  Although you do have two hands.  Just make sure the cam on your Xbox is off.

Ian Fortey knows something about drinking and self-pleasure.  Follow him on Twitter (@holytaco)