What’s better than sex? Well, nothing. But boozing with your buds is a close second, reports a new study from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.
Researchers sent text messages to people three times a day over the course of a week to see what they were up to and how they felt about it. After pooling the results, the researchers found people enjoy having sex, drinking alcohol, and volunteering more than anything else. (Recovering from sickness, checking Facebook, and doing housework were ranked as the three least pleasurable activities. Sounds about right.)
Sure, the study isn’t that shocking, but we like it because the highest ranked activities in the study are also all linked to major health benefits. So here’s the science behind why every man should have tons of sex, drink booze, and help out his community this holiday season.
Sex Fights Illness
People who have sex once or twice a week have stronger immune systems than those who have sex less than once a week, according to research from Wilkes University. Researchers took saliva samples from 111 college students and asked them how often they had sex over the course of a month. The results: Saliva from those who had sex once or twice a week had 30 percent more of the antigen immunoglobulin A (IgA)—your body’s first line of defense against colds and the flu—than those who were getting busy less often, study author Carl J. Charnetski, Ph.D., tells MensHealth.com. (Get the hottest sex secrets and relationship advice delivered straight to your inbox when you sign up for the FREE Girl Next Door newsletter.)
Happy Hour Makes You, Well, Happy
Moderate alcohol consumption may be linked to a higher quality of life, according to a study from the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Researchers analyzed how much alcohol more than 5,000 people drank over 14 years, asking subjects to report their health condition and booze intake every four years. The results: Guys who drank at least one alcoholic beverage a day—but never more than four—reported a better quality of life than people who abstained. What gives? The researchers credit social interaction associated with bonding over drinks. Previous research has linked stronger social circles with better mental and physical health, lead study author Mark S. Kaplan, Dr.P.H., professor of community health at Portland State University, tells MensHealth.com.
Your best bet: Aim for a brew. According to a study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, moderate beer drinkers may be 30 percent less likely than nondrinkers to experience cardiovascular troubles, such as heart disease, stroke, and heart attacks.
Giving Back Battles Stress
When you help others, you feel extremely accomplished—which in turn makes it feel like your free time lasts longer, says a study published in Psychological Science. Case in point: In one of the experiments in the study, researchers asked 218 students to either write a letter to a sick child, or count how many times the letter E appeared on the pages of a Latin textbook. The results: Those who wrote the letter felt like they had more free time on their hands, and were less stressed out about “wasting” time. And if you need an easy way to spread the joy this holiday season, look for a local toy drive in your area or try donating blood. (In fact, the American Red Cross has service regions all across the country. Check out this map to find a location near you!)
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