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…

by

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!

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
Philosophy & Motivation

Motivation to Exercise: How I Discovered 3 Powerful New Sources

A lot of OlderBeast is about “what” (what workouts, what to eat or avoid), “why” (facts and logic behind recommendations) and “how” (tips and tricks to get started, adopt something new, or refine).

But there’s a bigger, capital-letters “WHY” underneath all this. All theoretical reasons and intellectual understanding aside, WHY do we actually get out of bed early on a cold morning and go for a run? Or squeeze out those last 5 push-ups? Or eat healthy today instead of waiting until tomorrow?

“WHY” is a question of underlying motivation, man. It’s the bedrock of OlderBeast resolve to “double down” on fitness, nutrition and Wellness for the second half of life. We began discussing motivation in this earlier post.

To further help you maintain and grow motivation, let’s discuss three additional, powerful motivators: gratitude, respect and obligation.

article-image
Fitness Planning & Gear , Philosophy & Motivation

How to Overcome “That Sluggish Feeling” When It Threatens Your Workout Plan

There are a bunch of reasons why you might NOT work out today. Some are good, and many are not-so-good. Of all possible reasons, the one I really hate works like this.

1. You plan to work out that day. Then as the planned time nears, you start to feel a physical and/or mental sluggishness. Nothing dramatic, but you just don’t feel like working out. You start to flirt with the idea of taking the day off, considering various possible justifications.

2. But rather than explicitly, decisively declaring a day off – sometimes you need one, even if unplanned – you let minutes tick by without moving toward your workout OR deciding not to. Deep down, you might know what you’re doing, but you don’t admit it to yourself.

3. Then all of a sudden, voila, it’s “too late” for your workout. You missed the window of time you had before your next work, family or personal obligation. Even though you caused this, you don’t feel glad about the “can’t workout now” reality. You immediately feel like you’ve let yourself down.

This ever happen to you?  If so, you just fell victim to That Sluggish Feeling (“TSF”).  

I’ve devised a new response to TSF when it strikes. I don’t seek to move directly from sluggishness to exercise. Instead, I do a short, easy “bridge” activity in-between, to change my energy and get me into a better frame-of-mind to decide if I’m really, intentionally going to skip that workout. Here’s how it works.

article-image
Fitness Planning & Gear , Mindfulness & Stress Management , Philosophy & Motivation

Stop Missing This *Other* Key Benefit of Exercising Outdoors

To the extent epiphanies come to me in life, they often happen while I’m running. Being physical and “getting out of my head” frees my mind. Thoughts aren’t required or even expected – they can just come as they may. And that’s frequently when the most original, creative or useful ones arrive.

And something about running in particular nurtures this. Something struck me while running a couple of days ago, and I think it’s highly relevant to your life as well as mine, brother.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.