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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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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Philosophy & Motivation

The OlderBeast Way to Fitness, Nutrition & Joy for 40+ Guys

40+ men are less well-served by existing “fitness and health” media than women and younger guys.

I created OlderBeast to address this gap. If offers friendly advice and occasional inspiration from a “regular guy” who built up important insights and results-producing approaches, via his (my) own experimentation and life experience over the last 13 years.

To help you get started, I’ve published a free e-book: The OlderBeast Way. I hope it helps you thrive, brother.

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Fitness: What Men Can Learn From Women (Part 2)

Part One of this series said 40+ guys should take valuable cues from women to refine their fitness-and-health approach for the decades ahead.

Women…
1. Don’t let competitiveness become counterproductive to fitness
2. Focus more on total-body fitness
3. Seek out help and support more
4. Take nutrition more seriously

I have no intent to perpetuate stereotypes. But these patterns do fit with how many people assume women behave compared to men. So yeah, I’ll admit it in this language: Part One suggested we learn from attitudes and behaviors some might describe as “womanly.”

However you describe them, they have real benefits for lifelong fitness, health and wellness.

If anything, this Part Two makes a more cage-rattling point. Some women in the OlderBeast phase of life are “manning up” to fearlessly embrace age and double down on fitness — on “historically-male” fitness turf — more than many guys are.

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Six Fitness Actions You’ll Thank Yourself For *NEXT* Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you have much to be thankful for this year, man. Even while you gratefully make note of all that, this is also a good time to think ahead.

What would you additionally like to be thankful for next Thanksgiving?

What if on Thanksgiving 2018 you could take a personal inventory and conclude:

1. I’m staying more motivated for fitness – and avoiding major backslides

2. I’m eating better (not perfectly, but better)…and I feel better for it

3. I forgive myself for not always following my fitness plans…but I hold myself more accountable to usually do so

4. I’ve varied my fitness routine, so I’m in better all-around shape than I was a year ago

5. I’m using exercise to better combat stress and make my life feel more spacious

6. If needed, I overcame aches-and-pains to do these things – instead of letting 2018 be a year of narrowing possibilities

Dude! That would be an incredible “thanks” list. So enjoy the coming weeks of 2017 wrap-up and holidays, yes. But I invite you to also make this time a springboard into a meaningful 2018. (Don’t wait for the cliched New Year’s Resolution.)

Here’s the why-and-how of six actions you can take, starting now, to add to your “thankful for” list for next year.

2 Comments
  1. Melissa Matherne 3 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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