How to Out-Health Your Heroes: Be Fitter, Stronger and Tougher Than The Hulk
We may have learned how to be healthier than Iron Man, Thor and Wolverine, but there are plenty more ultra-fit superheroes where they came from. This time, we’ll attempt to out-manoeuvre Flash, Daredevil and The Hulk, and in doing so put these comic-book colossuses to shame with our superior strength and skill.
Hulk smash: 10
Hulk blood pressure: 11+
We all know the backstory: Bruce Banner, a celebrated and brilliant scientist, is cursed to undergo a transformation whenever he’s put under emotional stress. As his cortisol levels increase, this once introverted academic transforms into a green, monstrous, part-humanoid, part-destructive machine, possessing near limitless superhuman strength and invulnerability. Moreover, Banner’s attributes grow more potent the angrier he becomes, and when particularly livid, he can even emit gamma rays to tackle his enemies. If it came down to picking a fight with one of the Avengers, then we’d posit that the Hulk would be the last guy on your list. Just look at him: he’s gigantic, green, and appears to have been lifting weights and drinking protein shakes since he was born. And – famously – he’s very, very angry pretty much all the time. Most people wouldn’t want to take him on in a bench-pressing competition, to say the least.
Banner promises, repeatedly, that we won’t like him when he’s angry, and he’s right. It’s anger that triggers his physical changes, turning him into a huge green demolition ball, and costing him a lot of money in tattered trousers as he quintuples in breadth and stature sporadically throughout his adulthood. Stress and anger can be responsible for a range of long-lasting, damaging physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, high blood pressure, depression and insomnia. Stress and anger, moreover, are often very hard to avoid. Banner’s symptoms, notably, are involuntary – he can’t control the way he reacts. Positive, beneficial ways to reduce stress include taking time to relax and do things you enjoy, getting plenty of sleep and exercise, controlling your breathing, and confiding in someone close to you or in a therapist instead of bottling up problems. Those who follow these steps will find their physiological and mental health alike significantly improved, and in doing so can enjoy a happier, healthier, and generally more incredible way of life.
Daredevil is nicknamed “The Man Without Fear,” and we certainly wouldn’t be too optimistic about proving ourselves against him. True, Matt Murdock was blinded by radioactive waste in New York when he was a child, but we can hardly call this blindness a weakness; in fact, it was this particular accident that transformed him from normal schoolboy into villain-felling superhero. Apparently, the radioactive exposure heightened his sensory perception way beyond normal human ability, and he became tremendously physically fit, equipped with skills in lie-detection, marksmanship and telepathy, and a master in acrobatics, martial arts and parkour. Add a dapper red costume into the mix, and voila – Murdock had transformed into Daredevil.
As we’ve mentioned, Daredevil is blind. Whilst he repeatedly batters enemies into submission, his blindness still means he has to be cautious in combat. What’s more, Daredevil’s radar sense can only go so far, and is disrupted by loud noises, which make him disoriented. So even though we don’t all have radioactively-supplemented superhero physiques, we can gain the upper hand over Daredevil by keeping our eyes in top condition. Eyes are delicate; taking regular breaks from activities that require prolonged staring can reduce the risk of eye strain. Avoiding aggressive air-conditioning and getting plenty of Omega-3 – oily fish, kiwi and flaxseed are great sources – will stop your eyes drying out. Finally, a generally healthy lifestyle, which includes eating vitamin-rich vegetables to boost retina health, exercising to improve your circulation, and quitting smoking to decelerate the development of cataracts and optic nerve damage, is the best recipe for healthy eyes – and great for your body overall, too.
100-metre sprint: 10
Blood-sugar levels: 2
A lightning-bolt powered, super-speed, DC Comics Renaissance Man, the Flash seems to be in fine physical form. He’s able to move at super-speed and propel himself so quickly that he can run on water, time-travel and generate tornadoes, meaning that few would be keen to take on Flash in the 100-metre dash. Moreover, he’s surrounded by a protective aura that negates all friction as he runs, which is pretty handy bearing in mind that he’d probably spontaneously combust travelling at those speeds otherwise. Flash enjoys superhuman reflexes, and can seemingly violate various laws of physics, such as being able to vibrate so rapidly that he passes through solid objects in a process named ‘quantum tunneling.’
Flash is susceptible to environmental factors; he’s unable to attain his legendary super-fast pace if his enemies deprive him of the necessary friction to get up to speed. Flash has been known to be foiled, for instance, by a well-placed oil slick, and sheets of ice have more than once sent him sprawling. His most significant weakness, however, is that he can tire easily, and needs to eat huge amounts due to his extreme metabolism. If Flash gets tired, he can’t move fast enough or vibrate so quickly that he can pass through solid objects unharmed. This, of course, is especially dangerous when his enemies direct solid objects like bullets to pass through him. The most important things to recoup after strenuous physical activity are fluids and carbohydrates, which should be consumed within 30 minutes of exercising. Glucose-rich jelly sweets and honey have been found to help give an extra kick in endurance training, and sports drinks will additionally help you regain the electrolytes lost from sweating. A favourite of even some Olympic athletes, chocolate milk is a popular post-workout option; the carbohydrates in a glass of chocolate milk will help replenish your glycogen stores and assist muscle recovery. Stay well-fed and well-hydrated, then, and a glass of chocolate milk could be the factor that makes you fitter and faster than your superheroes.
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