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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