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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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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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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Challenges , Flexibility & Alternative Fitness

Four Online Yoga Sources for Busy (or Reluctant) Guys — Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge, Week 4

Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge, Week 4. If you need to catch up, no big deal (this is a self-paced challenge during Oct-Dec this year, and you don’t need 12-13 weeks to meet its basic goals). Click on “Yoga for Men” in the Challenges box to the left, to see Week 1 and other posts.

As a reminder, challenge goals are: (1) Do at least six yoga practices during October-December 2017; (2) Have those practices span at least two sources of instruction (yoga studio instructor or online class), including at least one in-person studio experience; (3) Achieve at least three weeks in a row where you get a yoga practice into your routine, during the span of this challenge; and (4) Decide by New Year’s if-and-how you will keep yoga as part of your fitness and wellness routine.

To seek these goals — and for life-with-yoga after the challenge, if you go that way — online yoga classes are a great resource. You can use them when you don’t have time to get to a studio, are traveling, or for any number of other reasons. Including this honest one: you’re just not “up for” doing yoga in public yet. I get that. I felt the same way. But after doing a bunch of online yoga practices, I knew enough about what an in-person class would entail — and could do “enough” of the stuff” — that I was ready to brave the studio.

So here are four recommended online yoga class offerings. Each has a bit of a different style. They all offer free or sub-$1 trial periods so you can experiment with two or more of them if you want.

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Flexibility & Alternative Fitness

Hey Man, Do Some F**king Yoga Already

Unscientific breakdown of reactions I get when I mention yoga to fitness-minded guys:

A. 10%* use yoga as a part of their fitness approach…and swear by it

B. 25% “did a class a while back” (usually with wife or girlfriend), but didn’t continue. Usually, I don’t hear “it wasn’t good” or “I consciously decided to not continue”…so non-engagement is driven by other things, I think

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