Ensure Focus on Flexibility — Three “Stretching Routine” Resources to Help

Advice for fitness after 40 usually highlights flexibility as a key component. Within OlderBeast philosophy, flexibility is one foundation of the “endurance, strength, flexibility and balance” goal set. (Come to think of it, those are good goals for long-term mental state, too. But that topic’s for a different day).

But as much as the flexibility goal is touted, there’s surprisingly little high-quality, standalone advice out there on stretching.

Here are three resources I think you’ll find useful, though. None is perfect. But together, they constitute a good start if you currently do little or no stretching. Or they can help you add to or refine things you already do.

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Advice for fitness after 40 usually highlights flexibility as a key component. Within OlderBeast philosophy, flexibility is one foundation of the “endurance, strength, flexibility and balance” goal set. (Come to think of it, those are good goals for long-term mental state, too. But that topic’s for a different day).

As much as the flexibility goal is touted, though, there’s surprisingly little high-quality, standalone advice out there on stretching routines.

  • “High quality” means good/smart stretches are included AND explained clearly, with variations laid out to figure out what works best for you.
  • “Standalone” means flexibility advice is independent of larger workout programs, many of which you need to pay for.

USEFUL RESOURCES ON FLEXIBILITY / STRETCHING

Here are three resources I think you’ll find useful. None is perfect. But together, they constitute a good start if you currently do little or no stretching. Or they can help you add to or refine things you already do.

  1. Basic stretching routine from the Mayo Clinic. This organization is impressively versatile across different fitness/nutrition/health dimensions. And as a “dot-org,” you know they’re not driven by ulterior profit motives.
  2. Nice stretching routine from a small bodyweight-training site. The visuals here are really basic, but the routine suggested is solid. Again, take all things like this as sources of input, and figure out what feels effective for yourself, man.
  3. Program intended to make flexibility progress if you’ve plateaued with other approaches. These guys are selling a $95 flexibility course (I may try it). But the intro article itself is useful, and they have a free preview course you can try for a few days.

TAKE ACTION

I know, dude. Stretching is hard to be diligent about. Partly due to time constraints. If you only have so much time for a workout, you don’t want to cut the endurance or strength part of it short “just” to stretch. And partly because most of us are not very flexible, and so stretching is physically tough and highlights something we’re not “good” at.

But we gotta do it, brother. Progressive loss of flexibility will impact all other aspect of our physical lives (and maybe even mental ones, if it impacts our self image).

And the good news is, you can make meaningful progress on flexibility if you dedicate a short amount of time to it.

But the muscles aren’t going to “stretch themselves,” man — you need to make a choice to spend a few minutes on this each day!

“Come on the risin’ wind. We’re goin’ up around the bend.” (Creedence Clearwater Revival, Up Around the Bend — 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.

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Flexibility & Alternative Fitness

Nonsensical Man Logic: “I Don’t Do Yoga Because I’m So Inflexible”

I talk to a lot of guys about yoga (I’m a huge proponent of it for 40+ guys). One of the most-often-mentioned “reasons not to do yoga” makes no sense: inflexibility.

But isn’t not doing yoga because you’re not flexible like saying “I don’t do cardio workouts because I get out of breath,” or “I don’t do push-ups because my chest and arms are kind of weak?”

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Advice from “The Yoga Man(ual)” Author Jen Murphy — Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge Week 5

Recently, I sat down to talk about “yoga and men” with Jen Murphy. She’s the author of the great new book The Yoga Man(ual) and the widely-read Wall Street Journal column “What’s Your Workout?” She’s also written numerous OlderBeast-relevant things in publications like Men’s Journal and Men’s Health.

Here are excerpts from our conversation. I think this is really useful reading for guys currently in the Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge AND guys who are not.

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Challenges , Flexibility & Alternative Fitness

Something You Need for 2018: Your Next (or First) Yoga Mat

If you’ve been trying out yoga, you probably fall into one of two main camps when it comes to owning a yoga mat. (If you’re not aware of our Yoga Challenge and want to check that out for context, click on the “Yoga Challenge” link in the box to the left).

Maybe you ran out and bought one soon after your first class (the male stereotype is that we do love our gear, after all). Or, you might have figured you’ve got other stuff to worry about — like surviving challenging yoga practices — and using borrowed or rented mats seems fine for you.

In either case, if you’ve been stringing together some weeks of yoga and intend to continue in the new year, now’s a good time to think about a mat. Either your first one, or the one you wish you’d known to buy the first time around.

“What’s the big deal?” you might ask. What’s so great about the “right” mat? This is one of those things that’s best understood in the reverse. As in, what issues does the wrong mat bring? So let’s start off there — hopefully to motivate you, man. Then we’ll identify a number of mats that might have your name on them.

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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.

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