Get Back, Man…to Physical Things You Once Thrived On

I think we all recognize—if we really stop and think–that we lose some precious things as we move through life. Do you have something you “used to” do, that was really good for you physically and mentally…but which you don’t do anymore?

However natural and understandable this is, it has multiple adverse effects we don’t want:

⇒ Physical: we lose the contributions of that activity to our ongoing quest for endurance, strength, flexibility and balance – and the diversity of movement that’s so important to all-over fitness

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I think we all recognize—if we really stop and think–that we lose some precious things as we move through life.

One important example, however obvious or even clichéd: as childhood gives way to successive stages of adulthood, many of us lose (or at least bury) our childlike sense of wonder…our thrill of discovery and feeling of adventure…our creativity…even our sense of unique individuality and possibility.

I’m not judging here, man – I’ve let some of all of this happen to me along the way.  But I’m now really conscious of it and working to re-nurture these vital things.

Within this weighty and admittedly “touch-feely” topic, though, let’s zoom in on something more concrete and immediately addressable: not letting physical activities we thrive on drop permanently out of our lives.

Do you have something you “used to” do, that was really good for you physically and mentally…but which you don’t do anymore?  This question spans “workouts” like running or strength training, and “recreation” like hiking or kayaking.  Or even simple things like “walking there instead of driving.” Sadly, injuries and other physical factors, plus the constant squeeze of time from careers, family and technology/media, slowly but almost inexorably pressure us to let certain other important flames burn low or go out.

However natural and understandable this is, it has multiple adverse effects we don’t want:

⇒ Physical: we lose the contributions of that activity to our ongoing quest for endurance, strength, flexibility and balance – and the diversity of movement that’s so important to all-over fitness

⇒ Mental and spiritual (short-term): we lose how that activity makes us feel, whether that’s de-stressed and centered, exhilarated, non-vainly proud, contented, or some mix of these great feelings

⇒ Mental and spiritual (longer-term): with each thing we let drop out of life, we move closer to having the past seem richer and more alive than the present and future. This is a wistful “I used to…” lament.

I bet we’re on the same page about this, brother:  when you think of it this way, this is NOT where we want to go (or as Maximus in the classic movie Gladiator firmly repeats to himself as his mantra, “not yet”)

dog-coming-home

OK, end of doom-and-gloom.  Here’s the positive reality:  A conscious and thoughtful OlderBeast brings things back into his life. 

We’ve regained some control over our time (or we can, if we focus with resolve to do it). We appreciate the imperative for tranquility-of-mind, and joy, more deeply than we used to.  And so, we’ll find time, and a way, to get back to some beautiful things that have gone dormant.

For me over the past few years, this has meant getting back into running.  Being “a runner” is part of my basic identity…and something was missing when I wasn’t doing it.  I had to figure out how to overcome a foot problem running was causing me…and I did. I also better accepted that it doesn’t serve me to try to run as far/fast as I did X years ago…reality accepted, and now onward.

Also, I love kayaking, but hadn’t done much of it for years.  I recently bought a kayak and started paddling at a nearby lake 2-3 times a month.  Getting the peace-and-quiet of the still water…seeing the water birds up close…all while being physical…it feels like coming home.

With your thriving in mind, let me ask:  what should you get back to, man?  What should you reclaim for yourself?  You can do it (you owe it to yourself to do it) for its physical benefits and—vitally—its mind-and-spirit ones.

I’d love to hear your stories about bringing things back into your life!

“Oh I can hear it calling me…I said don’t you hear it calling me…the way it used to do?” (Led Zeppelin, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You)

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Philosophy & Motivation

REAL fitness New Year’s Resolution: “I Will Discover What’s *Really* Been Holding Me Back.”

So many guys know they need to lose weight, improve cardio health, and/or battle the decline of strength and flexibility. They know all the reasons why and they know reasonably well what to do. But still…time passes. Periods of resolve (especially around New Year’s) are followed by longer periods of less discipline. The body-and-soul health gap grows larger. And the long-term game plan to address it recedes into the fuzzy future.

In truth, do you recognize yourself here? This was me circa 2004 by the way, so please don’t hear this question as criticism or judgment. I’m describing, at least, a sizable minority of 45+ guys. Maybe even a majority.

If you’re one of them, I respectfully believe you need a different kind of 2018 New Year’s resolution, man. Not just to “work out more” or “join a new gym.” These kinds of resolution are easy to make but so hard to keep over time. (So is “eat better,” but nutrition is its own major topic and here I’m sticking to the exercise component of fitness).

Here’s a resolution that may sound harder to start acting on, but which is much more likely to really matter in your life. “In 2018, I’m going to discover and attack the root cause – cognitive or emotional – of my persistent under-attention to fitness and health.”

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Aging Guys’ Fitness Motivation Secret: Embrace the Connection to Joy & Meaning

At this time of year, as autumn deepens, challenges mount to our motivation for fitness and nutrition. Shorter, colder days. Impending snow and sleet (or even just the rain that daunts Californians). Scrambling to complete work-related things before The Holidays. And then Holidays themselves (I’ll have pumpkin and apple pie, thanks very much).

So right about now, we can all use a reminder about what motivates us to stay fit and vital. That’s why I want to reaffirm and expand on the biggest, most-positive motivation out there: thinking of fitness as a major enabler of Joy and Meaning in your life.

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Fitness as We Age: 5 Ways to Combat Physical Vulnerability

In our quest to stay fit and vital as we age, sometimes we can’t help but experience feelings that counter-productively undermine our resolve.

It’s natural to fear and lament that our basic physical capabilities are diminished compared to our younger selves. But while this is true, you’re less over-the-hill than you think, man. This should be a manageable fear. Anyway, what are you gonna do about this – exercise less and let yourself get less fit because you can’t run a mile as fast as you could 20 years ago?

Also, like people of any age, we sometimes battle that sluggish feeling that whispers “don’t work out today…there’s always tomorrow.” But as we age, doubling down on fitness becomes ever more important, so effectively responding to that sluggish feeling is key.

Here’s the feeling that threatens our long-term body-and-soul health more than any other: the fear that we are getting more fragile, more VULNERABLE to injury and other activity-limiting aches and pains.

This is so dangerous because we can observe that it’s least partly true…but at the same time we can’t let it dictate our fitness habits and start a self-fulfilling downward trend. So how to deal with this shadow of vulnerability we feel? The trick is to neither ignore nor surrender to it.

Here are five things you can do starting now, to face up to this most-human feeling of vulnerability.

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Fitness & the 5 Stages of Fatherhood

For those who have or will have the opportunity to be a father, it’s one of the very greatest and most meaningful parts of life.

Getting and staying fit – via exercise, nutrition and mind-and-spirit wellness – is one of the most important things you can do to improve and sustain your life and your enjoyment of it. For the benefit of yourself and your children.

So, with “uber” life goals in mind, commitments to fathering and fitness SHOULD go hand in hand.

But day-to-day, it’s not always easy to pull off both. Precious time spent with kids heightens time pressure we already feel from work and other “pre-kids” obligations. Fitness is often what gets squeezed out.

With dads – current and future in mind – here are five suggestions for how to follow this “best of both” path, organized by the stages of fatherhood.

2 Comments
  1. Melissa Matherne 2 years ago
    Reply

    Great advice, keep up the inspiration!

  2. […] something physical that’s new and exciting. Rock climbing? Scuba diving? Sea kayaking? Or get back to something like that, that you once thrived […]

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