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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I confess. I’m not always as proactive and purposeful as OlderBeast articles make me sound. When it comes to 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 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.”)

SIX SIGNS YOU NEED YOGA

Got any of these “Need Yoga” signs? If you answer “yes” for one or more items, then I urge you to give yoga a try.

I don’t mean a big dramatic vow to do it super-often or forever. Just try it at least several times over a 6-12 weeks period and see if it’s for you. At the bottom of this article, I’ve pointed to a simple and practical way you can get going on this trial run.

1. You don’t get much Core work in your current workout routine.

By “core work,” I’m not just talking about a few crunches here and there, man. I mean substantial exercise of all the muscles – front, sides and back – that run from your upper legs to your lower chest. If you’re routinely doing various sit-up’s, planks, side bends, superman’s, leg lifts and twists…OK, fair enough. Skip to the next item. But if you’re not, yoga is a great way to bring all this into your fitness mix, without an extensive standalone “core routine.”

2. You’ve got nagging aches and pains in your back…or knee…or shoulders…or…etc.

We all feel those aches and pains and realize we’re not 25 anymore. The question is, what are you gonna do about them? Yoga is a way to rest aching body parts while still getting a workout. Even better, in many cases, yoga’s benefits help overcome the underlying weak areas or muscle imbalances that cause pain and injury. This has been documented for backs, shoulders and numerous other common problem areas.

3. You’re not very flexible…and it’s getting worse.

Yoga increases flexibility without dedicating extra time to a “stretching routine.” I’m not just talking about touching your toes, either. More importantly, yoga helps keep your spine limber. This impacts all facets of how you move. And how you look, too (let’s avoid that “stiff old guy” posture and way-of-walking for as long as possible, brother). Ironically, one objection to yoga many guys have is “I’m not flexible enough.” If someone told you, “I don’t do push-ups because my arms and chest aren’t strong enough”…wouldn’t you say that’s a reason to do push-ups? Same with yoga and flexibility.

4. You don’t have anything in your fitness routine that works on balance.

Sure, a lack of balance is dangerous once you’re elderly. But long before that, poor balance is a symptom that the smaller muscles at various points around your body – the ones that help you balance – are being under-used. If you’re losing your ability to balance, that’s the same as saying you’re getting weaker and less athletic, man. Probably more susceptible to injury, too. Sign me up for the opposite of that – it’s called yoga.

5. You know you need to work on all-over strength more.

Yeah, weights or body weight routines are great for strength. But…it takes a lot of dedication to get benefits all over your body. And, many runners, cyclists, or swimmers just don’t feel like doing the strength work (I’ve been in that camp before). Yoga works leg, core, back, shoulder and arm strength (not so much biceps, so do a few curls if you need to). It doesn’t build muscle size much, granted. But if you’re looking for a baseline level of functional strength…yoga is a great part of the solution. If “yoga” and “strength” seem like the two halves of an oxymoron – go try an advanced yoga class and then see if you feel the same way, macho man.

6. You’re not getting full stress management benefits from your current workout routine.

In the modern world, we all should welcome every bit of stress management help we can get. And research shows certain types of exercise are great at lowering stress – both the mental/emotional aspects of it, and in fact the underlying chemical causes of it. Yoga reduces stress hormones and increases feel-good ones, lowers blood pressure and pulse rate, and leaves you feeling refreshed. How many gym workouts or fast-paced fitness classes leave you feeling that way? Running and yoga are the two stress-management champs.

CONCLUSION

OK, time for some honesty with yourself. Do any of the six items above apply to you? Four years ago, I was pretty close to six-for-six (in a bad way). So why not give yoga a try for yourself?

Here’s a basic plan for how to give yoga a six-week trial in your life. It quickly summarizes “the case for why,” recommends a couple of yoga mats, and suggests options for starting with online yoga classes. Online classes from someplace like ManFlow Yoga, MyYogaWorks, Beachbody On-Demand, or Gaia Yoga are a great place to start, because they let you try and start learning without worrying about “how you’ll look” or “if it will be too weird” in a yoga studio.

After a while, you’ll be confident enough to progress to also try in-person classes at a studio, which also have major benefits including individualized instruction from an instructor who can see and guide you.

But now matter where you choose to start, if you take an inventory using this list and find an unmet need…well, starting meeting it, man. Give yoga a try as your way to do that.

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Four Online Yoga Sources for Busy (or Reluctant) Guys — Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge, Week 4

Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge, Week 4. If you need to catch up, no big deal (this is a self-paced challenge during Oct-Dec this year, and you don’t need 12-13 weeks to meet its basic goals). Click on “Yoga for Men” in the Challenges box to the left, to see Week 1 and other posts.

As a reminder, challenge goals are: (1) Do at least six yoga practices during October-December 2017; (2) Have those practices span at least two sources of instruction (yoga studio instructor or online class), including at least one in-person studio experience; (3) Achieve at least three weeks in a row where you get a yoga practice into your routine, during the span of this challenge; and (4) Decide by New Year’s if-and-how you will keep yoga as part of your fitness and wellness routine.

To seek these goals — and for life-with-yoga after the challenge, if you go that way — online yoga classes are a great resource. You can use them when you don’t have time to get to a studio, are traveling, or for any number of other reasons. Including this honest one: you’re just not “up for” doing yoga in public yet. I get that. I felt the same way. But after doing a bunch of online yoga practices, I knew enough about what an in-person class would entail — and could do “enough” of the stuff” — that I was ready to brave the studio.

So here are four recommended online yoga class offerings. Each has a bit of a different style. They all offer free or sub-$1 trial periods so you can experiment with two or more of them if you want.

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Fall 2017 HIIT Challenge: Week 3 (Sample HIIT Workouts)

Fall 2017 HIIT Challenge, Week 3! If you need to catch up, no big deal (this is a self-paced challenge during Oct-Dec this year, and you don’t need 12-13 weeks to meet its basic goals). Just click the HIIT Challenge link in the box to the left, to access the Week 1 intro to all this.

For this and other OlderBeast seasonal challenges (yoga’s the other current one), “best of the web” content is part of the rotation. I’m always looking for useful stuff, sometimes at the theory/rationale level, and a lot of times at the concrete “what-to and how-to” levels.

In that spirit, here are three HIIT-focused sources I think you’ll find useful, especially for doing things on your own vs. an instructor-led workout in person or via video (all of these are great things to try).

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Another Fitness-as-we-Age Trick: Add HIIT Intensity to Everyday Workouts (Fall 2017 HIIT Challenge, Week 4)

Fall 2017 HIIT Challenge, Week 4! If you need to catch up, no big deal. Click the “HIIT” link in the Challenges box to the left of this post, to get started.

If you’re taking this challenge, you plan to try out at least a few HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) classes at an in-person gym or studio, and experiment with online classes or on-your-own work at home. These are all ways to help you experience how HIIT can combine cardio and strength conditioning, and burn a lot of calories (during and after your workout).

But: a workout doesn’t have to formally be a “HIIT” one to confer some of HIIT’s benefits. You can (and should try to) add some interval concepts into running, cycling, swimming or “traditional” strength training. As architect of your own long-term body-and-soul health, this would be a good example of coming to understand what different forms of fitness and different workout approaches can do for you, and orchestrating them within your own game plan.

So please read on for my two cents on how to “HIIT-ify” your current workouts.

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Introducing OlderBeast 2.0 with Seasonal Challenges

If you’re reading this…well, first of all, THANKS man. I truly value and feel honored by your engagement in OlderBeast.

If you’re reading this…you’re at the new, improved “OlderBeast 2.0.” Here’s an overview of new features and how to use them.

But first, one key thing has not changed. OlderBeast’s mission is to help 45+ guys double down on body-and-soul health, to maximize the 2nd half of life. Fitness, nutrition, wellness – and having these things contribute not only to our physical health but also to Joy and Meaning – that’s what this is all about.

With these guiding goals, “OB2” can be more customized for how you want to use it. It hopes to be more engaging, to invite and challenge (and help with) your “doing” vs. just “reading.” And to create (cliché alert, I know) community, so OlderBeast is more than a one-way thing.

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