Digital Detox: Less Screen Time, More Body-and-Soul Time

No doubt, man – maintaining endurance, strength, flexibility, balance and exercise-supported peace-of-mind in the second half of our lives takes meaningful time. Four or more days per week.

Major challenge: “We never have enough time” is a truism that is nonetheless true. But if you’re determined to feel great, look good, be happy and live long…exercise needs to be a non-negotiable part of who you are.

So, what should you do?

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Digital detox? This is about time. Because, no doubt, man – maintaining endurance, strength, flexibility, balance and exercise-supported peace-of-mind in the second half of our lives takes meaningful time. Four or more days per week.

Major challenge: “We never have enough time” is a truism that is nonetheless true.  But if you’re determined to feel great, look good, be happy and live long…exercise needs to be a non-negotiable part of who you are.

So, what should you do?  Sleep less…spend less time with family and friends…spend less time at work?  The first two are not healthy.  And while there’s a whole (valuable) mini-industry focused on productivity and doing more work in less time, let’s assume here that less work time isn’t an option for you.

The answer is staring you in the face (too often, in fact):  spend less time looking at computer or phone screens for news and social media. Recent studies show the average American spending nearly three hours daily on Internet media (not to mention continued huge TV usage – that’s a subject for a different day).

We all want to stay informed and in-touch.  Important goals. But ask yourself:  where’s the daily point of diminishing returns? (e.g. is 30-60 minutes enough, and beyond that I’m really just wasting time and procrastinating?)

For example, my “vice” is political news.  But I realized so many articles are just re-mixes of the same news, speculations, etc.  Cycling (a few times a day, even) among the NY Times, Wall St. Journal, Washington Post, Politico, Real Clear Politics and Five Thirty Eight was 95% redundant…and not serving my most important life goals.  Your version of this might be Facebook, or Fantasy Football sites, or whatever…

joyful-man-sunset

Brothers, with your thriving in mind, I say you can find 30+ minutes each day by consciously reducing media time, and you won’t diminish benefits you get from it.  Two specific suggestions:

⇒ Don’t dive into media at the start of your day.  For many, morning is the most productive on thought-demanding work tasks, and for some it’s a great time to exercise.  But whatever you do for the first 1-2 hours of your day, make it be driven by, and for the benefit of, you…instead of waking to immediately subjugate your time and mind to other people’s content and agendas.

⇒ Access media much less frequently during the day.  You’ll survive not “checking in” every couple of hours. With rare exceptions, not that much changes hour-to-hour or morning to evening.  I’ve found frequency habits reinforce themselves:  the frequent media checker feels compelled to check ever more frequently…and the purposeful media time “modulator” finds he can keep on extending the length of time between media plunges, and not be worse for the wear (he feels better, actually).

So, here’s how to make time for that run, trip to the pool or gym, yoga practice, hike with your dog – whatever serves you.  Avoid media during the first part of your morning, and use that precious time for other types of productivity.  Then be a “cautious investor” of your time with media for the rest of the day.  Use time you find for fitness, a little more sleep, time with your spouse or partner, focusing on a hobby.  In the end, these are the things that get us what we really want from our time here on the planet.

Try this for a month, and let the community here know what you think!

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery” (Bob Marley, Redemption Song – click to listen)

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High-Intensity Interval Training (HITT) Reviews: 9Round Kickboxing

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9Round bills itself as “your all-inclusive kickboxing fitness gym.” All workouts are 30 minutes, and can be started any time you arrive (as opposed to scheduled classes). The goal: use rapid-fire progression through nine activity stations (kickboxing plus a few other types) to get an intense, fun 30-minute interval workout.

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Owed to Yourself: 6-Week Plan for Guys to Give Yoga a Fair Shake

Among 40+ guys who don’t do yoga (which is to say, among most 40+ guys), I think there are three reactions when I tout yoga in OlderBeast articles.

1. Inspired to try it. Man, I hope there have been at least a few of these…please?

2. Tuning me out. Kind of like the grown-ups in the old Charlie Brown TV specials – blah blah-blah blah.

3. Feeling somewhat persuaded, and a little motivated. But not enough to overcome remaining hesitancy or inertia.

You in Reaction mode #3? If so, this is for you, dude.

Here’s a step-by-step, no-commitments way for you to figure out more about yoga, try it, and decide if it’s for you. This envisions a 4 to 6 week period, after which you can “fish or cut bait” on the whole topic of yoga and you. 

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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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Fitness as We Age: Five Lessons From the “Ground Game” in Football

I love football analogies, man. I probably use them too much. I ought to invoke the images of a symphony or a wild-flowered meadow more often.

But some football analogies just make sense to me at a visceral level. Especially this one: pursuing long-term body-and-soul health (at 40, 50, 60 and beyond) is like committing to the run as a football strategy.

When a team declares “we WILL run the football,” they commit to guiding principles like: Having a more-patient approach to victory – not trying to “win quickly”…Depending less on flashy or gimmicky approaches – what you see is mainly what you get…and Reducing costly mistakes – fumbles are less common and less damaging than interceptions.

Let’s consider what lessons this holds for the pursuit of decades-long fitness. I see five of them.

5 Comments
  1. […] injuries and other physical factors, plus the constant squeeze of time from careers, family and technology/media, slowly but almost inexorably pressure us to let certain other important flames burn low or go […]

  2. […] decades” fitness and nutrition plan. As one example of the many that exist here, check out these thoughts about controlling the role of email, media and “screen time” in our […]

  3. […] You DO have time to invest in fitness and activities that manage stress. Some of this time can be reclaimed from a subtle beast that has been sinking its claws into you, little by little, for years: email, […]

  4. […] CAN make time for walking (e.g. cut down on digital/screen time a bit, or make phone calls you’d make anyway, while […]

  5. […] I’ve “been there” on digital addiction, and I’m now a strong advocate of reducing time spent looking at a screen.  We can use the time for a more well-rounded mix of things, including fitness. […]

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