Fitness: What Men Can Learn From Women
OlderBeast.com exists to serve 40+ men — with friendly, practical advice and occasional inspiration for lifelong fitness, nutrition, and the contribution to joy and fulfillment that these things bring.
But this post is about women: what we can learn from them in pursuit of our manly goals.
I’ve been happily married for 23 years, and I’m additionally blessed to have active, intelligent women across the generations of my family — mother, sister, daughter. So in a general sense, my list of “what men can learn from women” would be quite long.
Within the narrower realm of fitness, nutrition and wellness, here are four things women do that we can learn from, brothers.
1. Women don’t let competitiveness become counterproductive.
In our society, “competitive” is usually a positive descriptor (especially for the stereotypical “manly man” persona). Don’t get me wrong. Striving to be the best we can be, challenging ourselves to improve…these “competitive” urges are great things. But competitiveness can also have these two side-effects, which women avoid better than men:
A). Prevents you from even doing an activity because you’re not in shape for it, don’t know how to do it, or aren’t especially fast/strong at it. This is a lot of what holds back men’s participation in — take your pick — swimming, running, yoga, strength training…etc.
B). Drives you to overdo — run too far or too fast, stack too much weight onto the bar for squats, not take rest days or intentional “easy” days. This leads to injury or getting worn down.
2. Women focus more on overall-body fitness.
They’re more likely to work key areas men often ignore: core, lower back, muscles that maintain posture and balance. Frequent runners and cyclists are among the most at-risk for lack of overall-body conditioning, but many strength-training guys focus on the big “show” muscles and thus under-attend to overall-body fitness, too.
Women are much heavier participants in yoga, more likely to swim, and more likely to do “toning” multi-muscle exercises…overall-body things that complement other activities men tend to focus on and, often, restrict ourselves to.
3. Women are more comfortable seeking out and accepting help.
When you’re over 40 and trying to take up new sports and exercise activities, you should want all the help you can get. Same if you’re trying to make sustainable changes in your diet and nutrition. But for many men, it’s against-the-grain to act this way…perhaps most so for long-time participants in one or two fitness activities (e.g. running, lifting) who are reticent to be a novice in something else.
Reluctance to add new, diversifying activity into your fitness routine is a major enemy of overall fitness, man. You’ll do yourself a big favor by getting over this!
4. Women focus more on diet and nutrition.
Let me say this first: some of the reasons for this are not good: our society’s differential focus on the importance of appearance for females vs. males, and the various negative effects of this. I won’t at all attempt to tackle that huge topic here.
Focusing more narrowly on our what-men-can-learn angle…men will benefit from educating ourselves better, and findings ways to be more disciplined, about food.
OK, so there are at least four ways that OlderBeasts should learn from women. I’m interested to hear feedback here!
“That’s right, the women are smarter” (Grateful Dead, Man Smart — Woman Smarter — click to listen)
Take Care of Yourself, with More Perspectives Like This
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