How to Out-Health Your Heroes: Be Fitter, Stronger and Tougher Than Iron Man
With the third film in the Iron Man franchise out this week, there seems to be no stopping Marvel’s ubiquitous cast of superheroes in their many missions to rid the world of evil. However strong, muscular and generally faultless they seem, though, every superhero of course needs a weakness – were they completely infallible, the team would solve world crises in minutes. This guide will demonstrate the chinks in these heroes’ proverbial – and real – suits of armour, and demonstrate a few basic tips as to how any ordinary civilian can be healthier than even these Marvel monoliths.
Engineering intellect: 10
Resilience to booze: 3
Strengths:Tony Stark is evidently pretty healthy; thanks to the Repulsor Tech node implanted in his chest and his incredibly swanky, (not to mention, shiny) gadget-studded armoured suit, Iron Man can fly anywhere, lift anything, and generate magnetic fields at will. Plus, his metal cocoon is resilient enough to withstand any kind of punishment or impact that his enemies direct at him. And don’t forget that Stark designed this equipment himself; a man of formidable intellect, Tony Stark is a former child prodigy in the world of engineering and an excellent tactician. Although it might not immediately bring us Iron Man’s level of genius, we can take a leaf out of Stark’s book and maintain good psychological health by drinking lots of water throughout the day to stay hydrated, and getting plenty of sleep each night, which has been shown to boost memory and thinking power.
Weaknesses: Stark occasionally takes a break from combatting a multitude of foes, and this is when another, more vulnerable side of Iron Man surfaces. When he’s not saving the planet from evil, Stark is a notorious and wealthy playboy, socialite and alcoholic; he might seem undefeatable when he dons his famous suit, but we have the upper hand on him when he’s lamenting the financial vicissitudes of his multi-million dollar company by drowning his sorrows in alcohol on one of his months-long binges. Overconsumption of alcohol can lead to a plethora of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, liver failure and memory loss, as well as being a drain on the wallet and the source of an often unexpectedly high number of calories. It’s generally recommended that adults limit their alcohol intake to two or fewer servings per day; do this, and you’ll be fitter than Iron Man, and avoid a nasty hangover in the process.
House music and sunshine: 1
Strengths: Wolverine, upon first sight, looks pretty tough. This Canadian superhero has superhuman strength, senses more acute than those of animals, and we wouldn’t want to get in the way of those threatening 12-inch claws he has on both hands, which look intimidatingly adept at disembowelling victims, should we come too close. His regenerative healing power, moreover, means that this particular mutant can survive gunshots and third-degree burns, and regenerate muscles, eyeballs or even the odd limb if ever he comes into a bit of trouble.
Weaknesses: So, we know that Wolverine has remarkably perceptive senses; he can see, hear and smell far better than the rest of us, but this in turn could make him vulnerable. Think of how it hurts your eyes when you accidentally look directly at the sun, or the pain when someone shouts right next to your ear – for him, this process is magnified. Anyone wanting to outshine Wolverine in the health stakes should surely find a way to lure him to a music festival, and then sit back, relax and watch as all that sunshine and 24 hour high-decibel music wreaks havoc on this mutant’s extraordinarily acute senses. As the weather gets warmer in the coming months, remember to drink plenty of water, avoid long exposure to sounds above 85 decibels, seek the shade between 11am and 3pm (when the sun is generally hottest), wear sunglasses to protect your eyes, and apply a high-SPF sun cream to save your skin. Stick to these rules, and you should have the advantage over Wolverine this summer.
Gym attendance: 2
Strengths: Thor is an even more challenging opponent than Wolverine; this guy is an actual god, and as a result has a whole array of skills, including being able to lift anything, generate hurricanes and tempests out of thin air, fly, teleport, turn himself intangible and invisible, create a forcefield, and a load of other stuff. But be aware that this particular Avenger actually lacks any truly inherent magical powers; all his power comes from a pretty nifty bit of superhero kit that he owns – his famous warhammer, Mjolnir. It’s this souped-up mallet that grants Thor his battlefield prowess; he just needs to wield it, and the hammer does the rest.
Weaknesses: As is illustrated in the early Thor comics, Thor has a pretty major defect – if he’s separated from his hammer for even just a single minute, he loses his divine status and becomes distinctly human. Due to the fact that Thor’s favourite battle techniques is throwing his warhammer inconceivable distances, it seems that all his adversaries need to do is make sure he doesn’t get it back in the next 59 seconds. Hammerless, Thor becomes pitifully weak – after all, why would he need to exercise if he knew he could rely on his hammer to be the fittest, strongest, most threatening superhero in the Marvel universe? Fortunately for Thor, this embarrassing shortcoming was eventually eradicated by Marvel in the later comics and films; with this weakness, all we’d need would be a healthy, protein-rich diet (which would include cutting back on fatty, processed foods and sugary drinks) and a regular fitness schedule combining both aerobic and anaerobic exercises (ideally for at least 30 minutes per day), and we could declare ourselves fitter, stronger and tougher than any superhero going.
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