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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Fitness Motivation Breakthrough: Increase RELATIVE Motivation Via Micro-Goals

Here’s an ultra-common situation. Picture a 40+ guy (could be you, a relative, a friend) who: (1) Realizes his road is forking, with fitness/nutrition a huge determinant of which way he’s headed; (2) Knows, generally, how to get/stay fit and eat well (or at least, knows it’s easy to learn how); but (3) Doesn’t do much about it.

While “on’t have time” is a common explanation (especially for guys with young kids), this situation boils down to one problem and one solution. Motivation.

OlderBeast has discussed motivation often, but here let’s take at *Relative Motivation*. Said simply, Relative Motivation means maybe give yourself a break from thinking, “I’ve got to get motivated” and instead, think “I need to target even easier things, initially.”

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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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Why (+ How) to Do Pull-Ups. Even If You Can’t Do One Today.

There are a small number of strength moves that work multiple muscle groups, can be done with the simplest of equipment (or none) almost anywhere, and can be varied in intensity based on where you currently are strength-wise.

Your workout time is scarce and you need to invest some of it in endurance, flexibility and balance. too. So these multi-benefit, do-anywhere, grow-with-you strength moves are key for the OlderBeast.

Pull-ups are one of these exercises, and they should be part of your routine, man. Even if you’re not sure the last time you did one. Or maybe, to be honest, you’re not sure you currently can do one. I’ve been there, too. Then you start trying them, then you start doing then, and you don’t ever have to go back to “not sure.”

So let’s discuss why pull-ups are so strongly recommended, and how to get started no matter where you currently are capability-wise for this challenging exercise.

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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