Aging Guys, Don’t Let “I WOULDN’T” Slowly Become “I CAN’T”

What if most of the time you had the discretionary opportunity to move, to use your body (not just during a “workout” but at other times like walking or taking the stairs)…you didn’t do it? But you thought, “I could, but I won’t?”

Here’s what I think happens with this “slippery slope” attitude and behavior pattern…

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If some of you guys think OlderBeast articles are sometimes too long or complex, rejoice! This is short and simple, man.

I was at a business event recently where the organizers mistakenly told attendees the venue was close to public transportation. It  turned out it was two miles away, actually. I had the time and I’m always up for a walk, so I hoofed it to the event from the Berkeley, CA BART station.

During the networking part of the event, one mundane but common topic was “so, how did YOU get here tonight?” (referring to the confusion about how doable public transportation was). In a small group of people, I answered the question by reporting that I’d walked.

Another guy in the circle said: “I could walk two miles…but I wouldn’t.”

There was a polite mini-laugh, and the conversation went on. But later, I reflected on the implications of this sentiment.

What if most of the time we had the discretionary opportunity to move, to use our body (not just during a “workout” but at other times like walking or taking the stairs)…we didn’t do it? But we thought, “I could, but this time I won’t?”

Here’s what I think happens with this “slippery slope” attitude and behavior pattern:

  1. Little by little, a gap develops between the fitness level we could have and that which we do have.
  2. When we forsake walking in particular, we also miss out on precious stress management and unhurried reflection time.
  3. Then our decline curve of aging plays out with us avoiding, instead of embracing, those “extra credit” opportunities to move, to burn calories, and to keep muscles bearing loads.
  4. Then one day, the thing we avoided by choice — like the two-mile walk, maybe with some hills — isn’t so easy.
  5. Eventually, where we once said “I could, but I won’t”…we find ourselves remorsefully thinking, “I would, but I can’t.”

So brothers, let’s seize every chance we can to preserve and protect our strength, endurance and vitality for as long as we can. Let’s not be the guy who says he could; let’s be the guy who does. We’ll be better for it that very day, and over the long term!

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In defense (and praise) of the EASY workout

It’s important to keep physically challenging ourselves as we age. That’s why OlderBeast feature things like push-up challenges, exhortations to increase your weekly workout frequency, and calls to keep on running uphill.

But the name of the game is to do it thoughtfully, man — in a way we can sustain for years and hopefully decades. And on some days that calls for a game-time decision to do an EASY workout.

There’s the planned easy workout, to recover from intense effort yesterday or get ready to go hard tomorrow. But here, I want to talk about something different…a last-minute call to just do something “light” today.

Maybe a shorter and/or slower run. Or just some light body weight exercises and stretching. Or some lower-intensity cardio on a machine and then a short core routine.

The idea of switching to an easier workout is really about our relationship with motivation: having more than one response to call on when we feel unmotivated.

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Got Fitness & Health GOALS? You Should (and Here Are Mine).

Fitness in our 40’s, 50’s, 60s and beyond is more about long-term health, general vitality and happiness than it was earlier in life.

So, some cosmetic or vanity-driven objectives like pumping up the biceps or having a six-pack become less important.

But having said that, fitness GOALS are still critical for 40+ guys, probably more than ever. Why, what kind of goals, and how to use them? Let’s take a look.

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Aging: 3 Reasons Why You’re Not as “Over the Hill” as You Think

We’re not 25 anymore, physically (duh). But 40++ guys (and gals) can feel pretty darn good if they’re physically active, eat well, get enough sleep and manage stress. And perform pretty well too – in endurance events, strength activities, skill sports and daily life.

Consider these recent news items. A 52-year-old guy set the world record for most push-ups in an hour. At the USA Track & Field masters’ championships, women in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 80’s, 90’s and 100’s turned in “age-defying” performances.

The glass-half-empty views says 40+ means “over the hill.” But the quest to live in glass-half-full mode raises these questions: 1). What’s the nature of this “hill?” Is there one crest, or different ones for different things?…2). When do these crests come along?…3). How steep is our slope post-crest?

I’ve researched this a bit, and here are my conclusions so far. Yeah, our “VO2max” aerobic capacity is lower, and we have less fast-twitch muscle fiber for explosive things like sprinting and jumping. But there are also several pieces of good news from research, brothers.

Read on for a summary of good-news points and links to research sources. Plus, some amazing data on how today’s OlderBeast-age guys would have done at the first modern Olympics in 1896.

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