Get Well Soon, Guys (Fitness & Nutrition = Big Step Toward “Wellness”)

“Wellness.” This is a core part of what 40+ guys want for the second half of our lives. So it’s a major theme at OlderBeast.

But you may think: What does “wellness” actually mean, in general, and for my day-to-day life?

by

“Wellness.” This is a core part of what 40+ guys want for the second half of our lives. So it’s a major theme at OlderBeast.

But you may think: What does “wellness” actually mean, in general, and for my day-to-day life? (maybe also: does it involve incense, crystals or a homeopathic eye pillow?)

This is my first cut at framing a discussion of these questions – for your personal life navigation, and here among the OlderBeast band of brothers. There’s a LOT to this—a breadth of things to think about, with each one running deep. So I acknowledge up front…I’m just scratching the surface.

DEFINING WELLNESS

You can find dozens of definitions, but they all get at the same core idea.  Here are definitions, one pretty expansive and the other really simple, from two early thinkers and authors on Wellness.

“The defining characteristics of a wellness lifestyle/mindset are a strong sense of personal responsibility;  exceptional physical fitness due to a disciplined commitment to regular/vigorous exercise and sound diet; a positive outlook and a devotion to and capacity for critical thinking, joy in life, and openness to new discoveries about the meaning and purposes of life.” -Don Ardell

 “Wellness is living your life consciously in ways that improve your health and well-being.” -Michael Arloski.  My emphasis on “consciously” is added here – to me, this is the key thing that makes this definition powerful.

Ardell, viewed by many as the father of the Wellness movement, originally laid out five dimensions of Wellness.

1. Self-responsibility (at the center of the other four)

2. Nutritional Awareness

3. Stress Management

4. Physical Fitness

5. Environmental Sensitivity (this is least self-explanatory of the five.  It refers to physical and social environments, and internal sense of meaning and purpose. It’s about how we consciously seek out or create environments that are good for us…and react well to tough ones we just need to deal with.)

Subsequent Wellness frameworks from Ardell and others described more-specific parts of life (career, family and friend relationships, spirituality, sexuality, finances, intellectual life, etc.) as critical parts of overall Wellness.

WELLNESS and OLDERBEAST

We all want to feel great, look our best, keep getting happier, and live long.  At the highest level, that’s a Wellness set of goals, man.

At the ground level where we live daily life, here’s how OlderBeast’s focus areas help nurture and maintain our Wellness:

⇒ Fitness and nutrition are major pillars of Wellness in their own right. The more we keep up a level of overall physical fitness (endurance, strength, flexibility, balance) and start/keep eating right, the more likely we are to enjoy an overall sense of well-being in life.  Many OlderBeast posts are all about this, but if you’re new here, please start with this.

⇒ The right fitness activities massively contribute to thriving on other Wellness dimensions. Especially Stress Management, but also in that fitness activities bring us both reflective solitude and the opportunity to be in nature…with both being central to the “Environmental” dimension.

And almost every day, researchers discover new ways the physical (what we do and what we eat) impacts the emotional and intellectual parts of our being. So, fitness and nutrition bring benefits to all dimensions of Wellness, really.

⇒ We all need strategies to not let life’s obligations and pressures prevent us from following a “sustainable for decades” fitness and nutrition plan. As one example of the many that exist here, check out these thoughts about controlling the role of email, media and “screen time” in our lives.

EXPLORING WELLNESS

One useful, quick thing to do: take a free online personal wellness assessment.  The results will be interesting, I promise.  Even the questions are instructive and will help you develop your own gut-level sense of what the pieces of Wellness are for you.

There are a lot of assessments out there, but these two are good for starters.  They’re different enough from each other that, with an extra five minutes, you may want to take both.

TestWell (a reference standard among Wellness assessments).

Thrive Global’s “Pulse” assessment (from the new Wellness-oriented media company launched by Arianna Huffington and others).

###

Wherever you’re starting from on fitness and nutrition, brother, I hope you keep deepening your conviction that physical well-being is intrinsically part of your overall well-being and happiness.  Framed this way, fitness and nutrition are a matter of urgency for you, me, all of us.

I hope OlderBeast helps you form and sustain this life-enhancing belief, and helps you make plans for turning in into sustained action.  Your feedback on all this will help, so I look forward to hearing from you!

“It takes love over gold, and mind over matter, to do what you do that you must” (Dire Straits, Love Over Gold)

You may also like

article-image
Fitness Planning & Gear , Philosophy & Motivation

Your Fitness Mix Beyond 40: Six Signs You May Need to Change It Up

To begin with, you DO need a well-balanced mix of fitness activities.

I don’t care if you can run far and fast, bike up steep hills, or lift impressive amounts. If any of those things is all you do, brother, you won’t have the best blend of endurance, strength, flexibility and balance to stay physically vital for your hopefully-many decades to come.

Past 40, God-given levels of these physical traits do start to erode. It’s only by our conscious and continuous effort, via a good fitness mix, that we maintain them. This foundational OlderBeast article talks more about this need to seek more diverse fitness.

OK, so what’s the best mix – what activities, how often? There’s no single “right” answer for everyone. Even your own personal mix will vary over the seasons and the years.

But there are clear signs you’ll see if your current mix isn’t working. Here are six I recognize. Any apply to you? If so, it might be time to mix things up more.

article-image
Endurance , Philosophy & Motivation

Study Says Running’s the Biggest Life Extender. Give Credit to Runners’ “Architect” Fitness Approach.

This week, the NY Times cited a Cooper Institute study that found running is correlated with a higher increase in life span than any other exercise. (“An Hour of Running May Add 7 Hours to Your Life” – see link below).

The study’s authors acknowledge this is a “correlation” and not “causation” finding. Quick illustration of causation vs. correlation. A guy keeps finding when he sleeps with his clothes and shoes on, he wakes up with a headache. Did sleeping that way cause the headache? No, it was correlated with it (they frequently happen together), with the common root cause being tequila the night before.

My hunch is this finding is an important correlation between running and positive lifespan impact. It’s not the running itself causing incremental benefit vs. other exercise types. Other exercises or mixes thereof can provide the same physical and mind-body benefits. It’s that, critically, runners are likely to have an “Architect” view of their own fitness, and associated sustainable behavior patterns. These are the causative factors behind maximum exercise impact.

article-image
Philosophy & Motivation

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.

article-image
Philosophy & Motivation

Self-Image for 40+ Guys Should be About Looking YOUR Best

If you’ve read OlderBeast before, you’ve seen the mantra “feel great, look your best, keep getting happier, and live long.” That’s what I want out of fitness, nutrition and wellness. I hope it resonates with you too, man.

“Feel great” and “live long” are self-explanatory. But there are non-obvious aspects of “look your best” and “keep getting happier,” so it’s useful to discuss these. This post is about “look your best.”

5 Comments
  1. […] these fates and instead becoming a holistically successful human is one definition of Wellness – a mega-topic I’ve started to cover within OlderBeast, and will continue […]

  2. […] This is my first cut at framing a discussion of these questions (continue reading)… […]

  3. […] We should seek out more “adventure”—to inspire fitness, but also to enhance the more psychological and emotional aspects of Wellness. […]

  4. […] an earlier post about this mega-topic, I suggested two free online wellness self-assessments you may want to try. […]

  5. […] can explore this more via this OlderBeast article that more-deeply introduces the idea of wellness, and these two which look at examples of […]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.