3 Health Trends You’d Never Guess are Attracting More Men (And Why)

Men and women often gravitate toward different hobbies and career paths. There are male-dominated jobs like engineering and blue-collar work, while women occupy more educational and social service positions. However, there’s sometimes an influx of males in female-dominated careers and vice versa.

A similar relationship exists when it comes to health and fitness. Men usually aspire for Herculean strength and bodies, while women focus more on overall wellness and tend to pursue aesthetic physiques. Occasionally a health trend comes along that defies gender roles and expectations.

Here are three health trends you’d never guess are attracting more men and why they’ve been so successful.

Non-Traditional Workout Settings

COVID-19 closed down gyms and forced everyone to pursue non-traditional workout settings. According to several nationwide studies from the Mindbody Wellness Index, 64% of men emphasized health compared to 56% of women. Both numbers are promising, but the study revealed some interesting changes in men’s behavior:

  • 40% of men and 21% of women go to a boutique fitness studio once a week.
  • 44% of men and 31% of women livestream at-home workouts at least once a week.
  • 45% of men and 37% of women do prerecorded workouts at home at least once a week.
  • 43% of men and 23% of women exercise with Bluetooth home gym equipment.

These findings show a notable increase in men exercising in spaces traditionally dominated by women. Men used to do their own thing in commercial gyms while women took up most of the boutique studios and virtual fitness classes, but that dichotomy seems to have vanished.

Why has this trend happened? COVID-19 was the primary catalyst, as it didn’t give people much choice. Commercial gyms were closed, so fitness enthusiasts of both genders had to seek other options. Now that the worst of the pandemic has passed and gyms have reopened, men continue to try new things.

Aside from COVID-19, there are three main reasons men have broadened their fitness horizons. The first reason is money — smaller boutique studios and virtual classes are usually more cost-effective than pricey commercial gym memberships. Inflation is high and budgets are tight these days, so people have to get creative with their money management.

The second reason is the effectiveness of the workouts. The studies above found 57% of men believed virtual exercise complemented their in-person training compared to 46% of women. Becoming proficient with multiple workout styles is a matter of practicality.

The third reason is variety. Men tend to engage in various exercise methods, exposing themselves to new people and physical challenges. Thanks to the pandemic and changing societal expectations, men no longer see boutique studios, group workouts and virtual exercise as “girly” and feel more comfortable in those environments.

Self-Care Services

Another health trend men have picked up on is self-care. They’re participating more in services like massages, meditation and life coaching. Self-care has been a taboo subject for men for much of history, but since the male mental health crisis is getting more attention, they feel more empowered to put themselves first.

Referencing the same Mindbody Wellness Studies, men participated in special integrative health services more than women across the board in 2020:

  • 24% of men and 15% of women got massages.
  • 21% of men and 15% of women practiced meditation.
  • 12% of men and 6% of women received nutrition counseling.
  • 15% of men and 7% of women received life coaching.
  • 9% of men and 6% of women received chiropractic care.

Men have also stepped up their games in another important self-care habit — grooming. With all the hair and skin care products available these days, men couldn’t help but hop on the bandwagon. Many grooming companies have recently introduced product lines for men, while brands like Manscaped market exclusively to male audiences.

Again, COVID-19 partly contributed to this trend. Men had more free time to focus on their appearances, allowing them to develop new and improved self-care habits. Men also realized grooming was essential to their career success, especially as workplaces become more gender-neutral.

Males in female-dominated careers would look awfully out of place if they didn’t take their grooming seriously. Some male-dominated jobs might not have strict grooming standards, but they must look professional. Self-care is no longer a feminine activity, but a neutral trend both sexes need to stay healthy in this time of uncertainty.

Aesthetic Medical Treatment

Women used to make up the vast majority of people who pursued aesthetic medical treatment such as botox and plastic surgery. Today, there are more male consumers of aesthetic medicine than ever before. This trend clearly links to men’s increased prioritization of self-care and grooming habits.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reports men accounted for 8% of cosmetic procedures in 2020. That number might be small, but it’s a notable leap from almost zero percent in 2000. 

Moreover, the ASPS found a 29% increase in minimally invasive procedures in the last two decades. Laser skin resurfacing, botox treatments and soft tissue fillers have become the biggest hits among men, seeing jumps of 482%, 182% and 137%, respectively. Industry professionals have even created the term “Brotox” in reference to male aesthetic treatment.

Changes in gender expectations have partly contributed to this trend, but men’s bodies also benefit more from specific treatments. They have larger and tighter muscles than women, as well as thicker skin. That means they’re more prone to wrinkles and sagging and show greater signs of aging. It was only a matter of time before men came around to aesthetic medical treatment.

Men’s Priorities Are Changing

For generations, men put on a collective brave face and endured life’s physical and mental challenges without complaint. This kind of stoic strength is still necessary for a prosperous society, but men can’t be strong if they neglect their health.

Society is starting to see men’s priorities changing — they’re more invested in grooming, aesthetic medicine and other self-care habits. They also pursue more exercise varieties and workout settings. All of these trends show a positive change in men’s attitudes about their well-being.

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