OlderBeast Weekly Web Picks: 3/3/17 (Stretching and Flexibility)

Happy Friday, gents. I hope we all maintain or improve our fitness and health momentum over the weekend, and in the coming week!

This week’s picks feature flexibility/stretching (a key pillar of the OlderBeast view on real fitness), a look at the confusing “online nutrition info” situation, and suggestions for a Wellness-enhancing nighttime routine.

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Happy Friday, gents. I hope we all maintain or improve our fitness and health momentum over the weekend, and in the coming week! This week’s picks feature flexibility/stretching (a key pillar of the OlderBeast view on real fitness), a look at the confusing “online nutrition info” situation, and suggestions for a Wellness-enhancing nighttime routine.

Fitness: Stretching Routines

At OlderBeast, we highlight flexibility as part of the “endurance, strength, flexibility and balance” physical fitness goal set (come to think of it, those are good mental goals too).

Other than writing (beating a dead horse?) about yoga and suggesting “stretching” as part of weekly plans, though, OlderBeast hasn’t yet offered much detail on stretching.

There’s surprisingly little high-quality, standalone stuff about stretching on the Internet.

“High quality” as in good/smart stretches included AND explained clearly, with variations to figure out what works best for you. “Standalone” as in independent of larger workout programs (e.g. strength/HiiT programs, yoga practices).

But here are three resources I think you’ll find useful. None is perfect, but together they constitute a good start if you do little/no stretching. Or they may add to or refine what you already do.

Basic stretching routine from the Mayo Clinic. This organization is impressively versatile across fitness/nutrition/health dimensions – I suggest another thing from them below. And as a “dot-org,” you know they’re not as driven by ulterior profit motives.

Nice stretching routine from a small, bodyweight training site. The visuals here are very basic, but the routine suggested is solid. Again, take all things like this as sources of input, and figure out what feels effective yourself, man.

Thoughtful view on how to make flexibility progress even if you’ve been stretching and reached a plateau. These guys are trying to sell a $95 flexibility course (I may try it)…but the intro article is useful on its own, and also they have a free preview course you can try for a few days.

Nutrition: Confusing Info? Often So…more reason to Be a Savvy about Online Sources

I spend a lot of time researching nutrition online: finding credible resources and evaluating what they say on topics spanning weight management, physical performance, and long-term health maximization and disease/condition avoidance.

But often, I still can’t find a “straight answer” on certain topics.

I see three related reasons why the world of nutrition info is often confusing and, in fact, conflicting:

1. Prominence of interest in (and marketing of) quick-fix weight loss and fitness programs. Guys’ interest in “how to lose weight fast” and “how to get ripped soon” – and info / marketing messages on those topics – crowds out “how to eat well over the long term.”

And advice for “quick” results often differs from the longer-term, smarter way to approach things.

2. Lack of scientific “proof” for OR against some things. Many who advocate “unconventional” nutrition approaches are passionate and sincere…but what they advocate hasn’t been proven in rigorous scientific studies. So, other similarly-conscientious people caution against these approaches.

Meanwhile, it’s tremendously difficult to prove some things related to nutrition, because “proof” requires strict control of an experimental process, with people eating multiple times a day on their own, for years or even decades. It’s virtually impossible to manage research subjects (people) this way, and also hugely expensive.

3. Skepticism of “establishment” nutritional views. The official view of “how to eat well” was off-base for the better part of twenty years. Fat was demonized and dietary guidelines inadvertently fostered higher intake of “low-fat” foods high in sugar and other (often bad-for-you) carbs. Obesity, diabetes, and other nutrition-driven conditions grew.

So, many are now skeptical of what government or academic science say. Together with the “it’s hard to prove this stuff” point, this creates a situation where people often believe what they want to believe…or what a motivated and persuasive marketer wants them to believe…or are at least willing to try things that are unconventional.

What You Can Do Amidst the Confusion

Despite the confusion, there ARE some important nutritional topics with well-established knowledge from credible sources (without ulterior motives). To keep improving as Architect of your own health and wellness, I urge you to check these out, bookmark them, and consult them when you have questions.

These sources and others (like OlderBeast!) can help you ensure you’re at least literate on “Nutrition 101” things every guy should know. Like:

⇒ What basic “macro-nutrients” are and their role in the body (protein, fat, carbs)

⇒ Why things like fiber and antioxidants are so important to have in your diet

⇒ What basic “bio-metric” screening numbers mean (body mass index, cholesterol levels, blood glucose), and how changing your diet can move the needle on them

⇒ Where to look up and learn more about nutritional info for different foods

So invest a little time in yourself this weekend, brother. Check out and bookmark these sites.

Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

Mayo Clinic “Nutrition & Healthy Eating”

Harvard School of Public Heath “Nutrition Source”

Nutrition.gov

Finally, want to know more about why nutrition science is so challenging? Read: “I asked 8 researchers why the science of nutrition is so messy. Here’s what they said.”

Mind & Spirit: Advice on a Health- and Success-increasing Nighttime Routine

There’s a lot written nowadays about the vital role sleep plays in our health, happiness and productivity. Self-help/personal growth/success gurus point out that many successful people have a purposeful nighttime ritual to mentally conclude the work day, prepare for the next, then “unplug” in various ways, and cap it off by sleeping well.

You can read about this stuff for hours (some of it might even put you to sleep…). But this short article, from a few years back, crisply summarizes what a lot of the guru world is prescribing. I hope one or more of the things here are useful!

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There are so many dimensions on which we can aspire to lifelong improvement. This is an inspirational thought, but also a bit daunting. I’ve benefited from breaking things down into specific areas and topics I want to focus on…and then doing small things to move the needle on those.

This week’s topics – making your body more flexible, becoming more savvy on nutrition, and having nighttime be more enjoyable and restful – are all high-impact things that will improve your life.

“Let me forget about today, until tomorrow.” (Bob Dylan, Mr. Tambourine Man – click to listen). Also, this was another great Dylan cover by The Byrds.

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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Six Signs of Unmet Fitness Needs at 45+ (Reasons For Yoga — Yoga Challenge Week 6)

I confess. I’m not always as proactive and purposeful as OlderBeast articles make me sound. When it comes to 45+ men’s fitness, I’ve often just learned from injury-driven needs that motivated experimentation, or by simply lucking into things.

When I started yoga at age 46, it wasn’t because I’d thoughtfully concluded “hey, I have some ‘need yoga’ signs.” I started just because yoga’s a weekly part of the P90X home fitness program. Luck. (Online yoga classes are actually a great place to start – more on that at the conclusion of this article).

I see in retrospect that, as my 40s progressed, my fitness needs were changing. I had many of the “Need Yoga” signs, but I didn’t recognize them. Now, with regular yoga as part of my fitness routine, I’ve turned a lot of these “Need” categories into fitness and wellness positives.

My goal with this list is to help you do a self-assessment, and possibly reach a yoga conclusion sooner than I did (or if not, then at least “better late than never.”)

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90-Day Plan for (Re)Starting Fitness as a Habit

At some point, nearly all of us have been there: you’re working hard, commuting, maybe traveling, investing a lot of time with family…and NOT GETTING MUCH EXERCISE, if any.

It’s hard to move toward fitness from this place, partly because of the time challenge. But equally or sometimes even more, this is what’s tough: simply knowing “where to start.” And feeling that uncertainty makes it very hard to decide to start, dude.

As a friend recently described falling out of his exercise routine, “once the ‘switch’ is turned off, it’s #$%&! hard to flip it back on again.”

So use the fact that you’re reading this as a kick in the butt, man. Not from me, really, but from your inner self that motivated you to read this. Flip that switch!

Here’s my ultra-simple suggestion for a 90-day plan.

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Workout Frequency: What You’ll Encounter When You Increase It

One common question for guys intensifying their fitness program is “how often should I work out, and how should I ramp up to my targeted frequency?”

These questions have two hidden complexities. So, increasing your workout frequency should be done in a thoughtful way: gradually, with addition of greater variety, and willingness to break routines.

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Despite “Confusing” Science, THESE Nutrition “North Stars” Are Clear

The Atlantic Monthly recently published an article entitled “New Nutrition Study Changes Nothing (Why the science of healthy eating appears confusing—but isn’t).” The author makes the point that media businesses, in their quest for audience, have incentives to depict never-ending new revelations and controversies in nutrition.

Granted, there are some fundamental reasons why “definitive” nutrition science remains elusive. And there are legitimate different points of view on some nutrition questions. Like the prominence of carbs in your diet or whether certain fats are good or bad for you. So I don’t advocate ignoring the topic of nutrition entirely, man.

But at the same time, I want to do my part to reinforce this truth: There are a few clear Nutrition Do’s and Don’ts you should follow starting with your next meal, man. Don’t let uncertainties or controversies elsewhere in Nutrition Land interfere with that.

1 Comment
  1. […] I’m sometimes skeptical of the nutrition establishment, too. It demonized all fats for about 20 years, contributing to a lot of today’s health problems. And nutrition research is less effective than drug research for a few reasons. […]

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