Aging Guys, Don’t Let “I WOULDN’T” Slowly Become “I CAN’T”

What if most of the time you had the discretionary opportunity to move, to use your body (not just during a “workout” but at other times like walking or taking the stairs)…you didn’t do it? But you thought, “I could, but I won’t?”

Here’s what I think happens with this “slippery slope” attitude and behavior pattern…

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If some of you guys think OlderBeast articles are sometimes too long or complex, rejoice! This is short and simple, man.

I was at a business event recently where the organizers mistakenly told attendees the venue was close to public transportation. It  turned out it was two miles away, actually. I had the time and I’m always up for a walk, so I hoofed it to the event from the Berkeley, CA BART station.

During the networking part of the event, one mundane but common topic was “so, how did YOU get here tonight?” (referring to the confusion about how doable public transportation was). In a small group of people, I answered the question by reporting that I’d walked.

Another guy in the circle said: “I could walk two miles…but I wouldn’t.”

There was a polite mini-laugh, and the conversation went on. But later, I reflected on the implications of this sentiment.

What if most of the time we had the discretionary opportunity to move, to use our body (not just during a “workout” but at other times like walking or taking the stairs)…we didn’t do it? But we thought, “I could, but this time I won’t?”

Here’s what I think happens with this “slippery slope” attitude and behavior pattern:

  1. Little by little, a gap develops between the fitness level we could have and that which we do have.
  2. When we forsake walking in particular, we also miss out on precious stress management and unhurried reflection time.
  3. Then our decline curve of aging plays out with us avoiding, instead of embracing, those “extra credit” opportunities to move, to burn calories, and to keep muscles bearing loads.
  4. Then one day, the thing we avoided by choice — like the two-mile walk, maybe with some hills — isn’t so easy.
  5. Eventually, where we once said “I could, but I won’t”…we find ourselves remorsefully thinking, “I would, but I can’t.”

So brothers, let’s seize every chance we can to preserve and protect our strength, endurance and vitality for as long as we can. Let’s not be the guy who says he could; let’s be the guy who does. We’ll be better for it that very day, and over the long term!

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How Aging Reduces Your Calorie Burn Rate – and How Being Active Reverses The Decline

If you’re a 40+ guy paying at least casual attention to nutrition science, you know this: as we get older, our bodies naturally burn fewer calories.

Given this reality about “base metabolic rate” (BMR), our choices are: (1) Slowly gain weight; (2) Get more active, to counter-balance the BMR decline; or (3) Reduce calories consumed.

I flirted with the first path in my 30’s but ultimately chose to reject Outcome #1, do everything I can toward Outcome #2, and also accept that a bit of Outcome #3 will be needed over time.

Whatever choice you make (and you are making a choice, man), I want it to be an informed one. So please invest a few minutes to learn about your current calorie burn rate, how it’s changing, and how your activity level affects that trajectory. Preview: getting more active can more than offset BMR decline, for many years!

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Fitness as We Age: Five Lessons From the “Ground Game” in Football

I love football analogies, man. I probably use them too much. I ought to invoke the images of a symphony or a wild-flowered meadow more often.

But some football analogies just make sense to me at a visceral level. Especially this one: pursuing long-term body-and-soul health (at 40, 50, 60 and beyond) is like committing to the run as a football strategy.

When a team declares “we WILL run the football,” they commit to guiding principles like: Having a more-patient approach to victory – not trying to “win quickly”…Depending less on flashy or gimmicky approaches – what you see is mainly what you get…and Reducing costly mistakes – fumbles are less common and less damaging than interceptions.

Let’s consider what lessons this holds for the pursuit of decades-long fitness. I see five of them.

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Work At Home? Avoid These Five Fitness & Health Pitfalls!

Guys who go to an office daily might think: “Please…cry me a river about your zero-minute commute. I’d love that time back.”

It’s counter-intuitive that working at home, with commute time avoided, has fitness- and health-related pitfalls. After all, the #1 reason for not exercising is “I don’t have time.”

But having worked at home about half the time over the last decade, I can tell you first-hand: here are five fitness/health challenges that arise (and tips for overcoming them).

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Fitness Setbacks: You WILL Overcome! (Here are Suggestions to Help)

As 40+ guys living in the real world of work, family, and our own not-bulletproof anatomy, setbacks to fitness and nutrition plans are inevitable.

In the last decade, mine included plantar fasciitis (foot/heal pain), a strained rotator cuff, and sporadic right knee pain…not to mention crunch times at work that constrained exercise as effectively as any injury.

With “experience being the best teacher,” the OlderBeast tenets of fitness variety, workout/recovery sequencing, and personal time prioritization help minimize such setbacks. But still, they’ll happen – so here are a few suggestions for dealing with injuries and fitness interruptions in a way that minimizes impact, and even gets longer-term benefits from them.

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