Stop Missing This *Other* Key Benefit of Exercising Outdoors

To the extent epiphanies come to me in life, they often happen while I’m running. Being physical and “getting out of my head” frees my mind. Thoughts aren’t required or even expected – they can just come as they may. And that’s frequently when the most original, creative or useful ones arrive.

And something about running in particular nurtures this. Something struck me while running a couple of days ago, and I think it’s highly relevant to your life as well as mine, brother.


TO THE EXTENT EPIPHANIES COME TO ME IN LIFE, they often happen while I’m running. Being physical and “getting out of my head” frees my mind. Thoughts aren’t required or even expected – they can just come as they may. And that’s frequently when the most original, creative or useful ones arrive.

And something about running in particular nurtures this. A thought struck me while running a couple of days ago, and I think it’s highly relevant to your life as well as mine, brother.


The other evening, around sunset, I was out for a run. Nothing special about sunset that day – maybe a six out of ten on the beauty scale. But still, there were scattered clouds that changed color a little as the sun dipped, the light on the hills and houses in my neighborhood took on that late-day golden tone, and the world seemed peaceful. At that moment, I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

A thought hit me; one that seemed small but got bigger as I reflected on it. In addition to the physical benefits of the run and the mind/soul de-stressing, therapeutic benefits of exercising outside, there was something else.

The exact configuration of clouds, angle of the sun, seasonal state of the trees, wind conditions, and my vantage point on all that – this was a unique thing that never happened before, and never will again. And I was there to see it, to bear witness.

Meanwhile, within a few miles, there were hundreds or maybe thousands of people exercising in gyms or on home exercise equipment. From their treadmills, elliptical trainers or stationary bikes…the world at that moment looked exactly like it did the day before, and would the day after. Or month or year. (Let’s be clear: I’m NOT criticizing. These people had those on the couch or at the bar beat by a measureless distance, and some other days would have found me working out indoors, too).

But still, I can vividly call to mind running routes I’ve done in dozens of places – cities, suburbs, mountains, beaches, rivers. In all kinds of conditions – sun, rain, snow, wind. Day and night. And I’ve seen so many diverse things along the way – people, animals, trees, flowers, architecture, cars, boats.

What a rich trove of memories. In retrospect, it helps make the years of life so far seem to have gone by more slowly (man, a lot happened in those years!). And makes me feel truly connected to the places I’ve been.

Whereas: if you’ve done 1,000 cardio workouts in a gym over the last ten years…how much is there to really remember, man? What sports highlights were on ESPN or what political argument you saw on CNN? Are memories from that hotel gym in New York meaningfully different from the ones in LA or London?


The OlderBeast mantra is “feel great, look your best, keep getting happier and live long.” Well, nurturing rich memories like this is part of happiness, dude. The “long” part is an objective measure in one sense, of course — years. But in another sense, taking conscious steps to create beautiful and distinctive memories for yourself makes each year seem longer.

I know. A so-so sunset on a simple workday-evening run isn’t exactly like remembering your wedding day or the birth of a child. But these smaller, subtler things (and there are many more of them) are part of the tapestry you’re weaving, too.

So, my friends. As you make and refine a game plan for doubling down on body-and-soul health, to maximize the hopefully LONG rest of life…make outdoor fitness a part of your mix. Run, walk, hike, cycle, paddle, you name it. That’s where the poetry of the world can merge with the more-mechanical aspects of physical fitness. And life’s better when you have both.


“Hello, lamppost, what’cha knowin’? I’ve come to watch your flowers growin’.” (Simon & Garfunkel, The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)—click to listen)


If you think this would be useful to others, please help spread the word about OlderBeast by sharing this post with the social media buttons below. THANKS, MAN.

You may also like

Fitness Planning & Gear

For Fast, Clear Results: Try This 10-15 Minute “Yoga Tonic” Each Morning


1. Are you mentally sold on the idea of yoga, but just not able to do it much because of other fitness and life priorities?

In my case, I’m ultra-sold, but I still only do a full yoga practice once a week. I don’t want to displace other workouts or my rest day. But I know I’m missing out on some of yoga’s benefits from this infrequency (especially the flexibility benefit). 

2. Do you feel sometimes feel stiff and sluggish when you get out of bed in the morning? I do.

For both of these reasons, I started doing this 10-15 minute mini-yoga practice most mornings.

I’ve noticed clear improvements in my flexibility and ability to really nail and hold some key poses. And it reliably limbers up and energizes me, too. 

If you’re a seldom-yoga guy, this will bring you (physical and also mental) benefits as a standalone habit. And if you do longer-form yoga practices with some regularity but it’s not feeling like “enough,” this consistent short-form habit will set you up for better performance when you do spend longer on the mat.

Endurance , Fitness Planning & Gear , Flexibility & Alternative Fitness , Philosophy & Motivation , Strength

I Experimentally Reduced Cardio in My Fitness Mix – Here’s What Happened

There are good reasons for cardio-intensive guys to move to a better mix of endurance/strength/flexibility in the fitness mix.

Overtraining on cardio – especially without super-disciplined rest and nutrition regimes – can wear down your body, contribute to muscle loss, and allow development of imbalances that make you more prone to injury.

Also, in our time-challenged lives, too much cardio usually implies too little strength and flexibility training. And maintaining muscle tone and staying limber are huge parts of looking and feeling our best, and maximizing longevity, as we move through life’s second half.

And one big concern about reducing cardio – gaining weight/fat – may be misplaced. Evidence is emerging that strength training (with at least a somewhat-intense cadence) burns fat as well as, or better than, cardio.

With these things in mind (but still needing to overcome a “cardio reduction paranoia” mental hurdle), here’s what I changed and what I learned.

Fitness Planning & Gear

Nine of My Favorite, High-Value Fitness Products

Despite its paramount importance, in one way fitness is just like any other pursuit in our modern world. There’s a lot of “stuff” you may need acquire (and “toys” you want to).

You can spend a lot here. Think: multi-thousand-dollar bike…expensive home-gym equipment…membership at high-end gyms or studios…personal trainer…performance nutrition products. And depending on your situation, man, these things may well be worth it…much more so than other areas of discretionary spending in your life.

But a small number of things – not that expensive – will go a long way to setting you up with what you really need. Things you’ll use every week, and which do their job very well for a modest cost. A growing list of these things (products, as well as “services” like gyms, studios and online fitness programs) are featured on OlderBeast’s Recommended Products page.

Here are nine of my favorites – things I SWEAR by, and which will be great for most guys.

Fitness Planning & Gear , Mindfulness & Stress Management , Philosophy & Motivation

Why “Solitude + Exercise” is a Key Wellness Formula

One of the great things about certain types of exercise is that we can address two vital questions with one single action: Am I getting enough physical exercise? Am I getting enough high-quality solitude?

I’m willing to be the Oracle of the Obvious sometimes (just ask my wife or kids) But I won’t belabor the “why exercise?” question here.

But let’s discuss “why solitude?” and also “why is exercise time especially good solitude?” These should be prominent themes for any guy doubling down on body-and-soul health.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.