The Stretches of the Most Limber 77-Year Old I Know

It was almost 20 years ago that my dad started a daily routine of stretching, lifting free weights, and riding a stationary bike to remain fit and flexible into his senior years. Today, he is 77 and remains the most limber person I’ve seen among his peers.

Several years ago, I asked him to walk me through the 30-minute stretching routine he does to start each day. In his words, he goes from feeling 80 years old to feeling 30 years old because of that half hour. Today, I found the notes I took from his lesson. His stretches are below:

Arm circles – forward and back 25x

Hold fingers to temples – then move elbows in and out 25x

Karate punches – 25x

Forward stroke of freestyle swim stroke – 25x

If stiff, will do 50x

Lie down flat on back, hold arms out, then sweep leg across body (20 sec each)

The typical quad stretch

Reach arm straight out and hold, then over back of head for 20 seconds each

Single arm jai alai stroke – 12x each

Deep breathing, reaching arms out when you inhale and then dropping arms back to your side on exhale – 12x

Arms straight up, then stretch to toes, then touch fingers to floor

Lie down, move ankles in circles in the air: left, right, straight 25x each

Hamstring back while lying down

Then hold and move leg below knee in circle while elevated

Knee bends

Typical calf stretches

Lift one leg and place heel on a table to stretch hamstring

Typical calf stretch but with leg extended out further

Place hands on edge of a table, extend leg out and hold out as far as can

Elevated pushups on table, 50x

Sitting with legs out, extend back, then lean nose toward knees

Extend back, reach out to toes

Pull knee to chest while sitting, 10x each

Place a freeweight or large book at your feet; reach down with one hand to grab the weight/book, then pull up diagonally toward the opposite shoulder 12-25x each

Neck rolls, 25x each direction

Hands on hips, bend over at waist, center/left/right 3x

Standing, turn to look back in each direction while keeping your arms outstretched and extended

The typical back stretch while sitting on ground: one bent leg across the other extended, then use opposite arm to turn in other direction to stretch back

Butterfly

Standing, make single breaststroke all the way around until clasping your hands behind you, pull head back, then lean forward (2x)

While standing, hold arms out, straight up, then lean back

While standing, hold arms straight up, then swing them down through legs

Repeat with legs spread out

While standing, arms stretched up/out, then bend down each side

Repeat with legs spread out

Lie face down, then arch back so pushed partly up, then all the way up (20 sec each)

Mecca pose on ground, extending arms forward as far as can (20 sec)

Final note: he does a set of crunches before moving on to the next category of stretches.

Diana Nyad Speaks on Her Life After Sexual Assault

Diana Nyad is a legendary endurance swimmer. She has earned national acclaim for over forty years for various athletic feats. Her notoriety started when she swam the 28 miles around Manhattan in 1975.

Her greatest swimming achievement came at 64 years old in 2013. On her fifth try, she became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida (110 miles) without using a shark cage. I distinctly remember her profusely thanking her large team of helpers that assisted her in the effort.

Last week, Diana wrote an op-ed column in the New York Times about being sexually assaulted multiple times in high school by her swim coach. She explains what it was like to carry that burden during those formative years and how it still impacts her today.

It is not an easy read, but I am glad she had the courage to talk about it. I encourage anyone that thinks they can raise their sympathy and understanding of these situations to read Diana’s column.

Satchel Paige’s Rules for the Good Life

Satchel Paige (1906-1982) is one of the best pitchers the game of baseball has ever seen. Unfortunately, almost all of his career occurred before the integration of baseball, so most baseball spectators never saw him play in his prime.

I heard growing up that Satchel had some rules he followed for staying fit and living a good life. Earlier this year, while walking through the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City (recommended for anyone visiting KC), I saw this document on the wall featuring Satchel’s six rules for the good life:

In case you can’t read them in the image:

  1. Avoid fried foods cause they angers up the blood.
  2. If your stomach disputes you, lay down and pacify it with cool thoughts.
  3. Keep the juices flowin’ by janglin’ ’round gently as you move.
  4. Go very light on vices such as carryin’ on in society. The social ramble just ain’t restful.
  5. Avoid runnin’ at all times.
  6. Don’t ever look back. Somethin’ might be gainin’.

Notes from ‘Jerry Before Seinfeld’

Jerry Before Seinfeld is a Netflix special created by Jerry Seinfeld. Its focus is Jerry’s decision to start performing as a stand-up comedian in the mid-1970s and what those early years were like.

There were a few takeaways I got from the special:

— He moved to New York City in 1976 to start doing stand-up. He was not planning to go anywhere with it. He just knew that he loved it and wanted to do it. Similar to Dave Chappelle, when Jerry started his comedy career, he thought if he could just earn enough performing to make a living, that would be the greatest life he could have.

— The first comedy club he started performing at was The Comic Strip. The comedians would perform for free. The one bonus they got was free food, so that’s where he ate lunch and dinner every day. The positive at the time was the club was filled with spectators every night because stand-up comedy was the cool new thing to see.

— He had all of the expected setbacks for a new comedian. Hecklers, bombing a set, etc. But none of that bothered him. He was in the comedy business, and that’s all that mattered to him.

— He is like most comedians in that he is far more comfortable speaking to all of a crowd while he performs than he is speaking to any of them individually off-stage.

— Every romantic relationship you’re in during your life will have a certain amount of tension. Accept that.

— It takes young guys a long time to learn the power of flowers in a relationship.

— Rodney Dangerfield’s line to Jerry about great jokes: “The killers…they’re wanted in all 50 states.”

— Jerry wrote all of his jokes on legal pads, and he’s kept every joke he’s written from 1975 until today.

— To feel your sense of humor being validated is the only validation he cared about as a human being. He didn’t care if the crowd liked him personally. He only cared whether they liked the jokes.

— Anything “20 minutes” is a lie. You will never “be there in 20 minutes.” This conversation will never “just take 20 minutes.” Nothing ever takes 20 minutes.

— He recognizes human beings’ weird relationship with time. We stay up way too late binge-watching Netflix and don’t worry about the consequences the next day because that’s Morning Guy’s problem. Night Guy is making the decision right now to watch more Netflix.

— When you’re doing stand-up comedy, you absolutely have to connect to the audience.

— Five years after he started doing stand-up comedy in 1976, he got called to perform on The Tonight Show.

I Solemnly Swear to Not Say That I’m Busy

I will be moving from Chicago in a couple weeks to start a new job. These last few weeks have been filled with lunches, dinners, and drinks with friends and relatives that generously freed time in their schedules to see me before I leave town. However, after this many 1-on-1 interactions, I noticed a consistent pattern.

Everyone is “busy.” This isn’t like being “busy” in your 20s when it’s lots of activity masquerading as value. These are people in their 30s that have been promoted into jobs they like that have lots of responsibility. They also are people who have started families with a spouse and possibly one or multiple children. These are great ways to fill your hours. So why does the tone of the people talking about how busy they are still sound like equal parts excuses, complaining, and pride?

The truth is any of us sitting in this stage of our lives is blessed. Being “busy” at work means you have delivered on all expectations to this point and have been rewarded with an even more challenging role that hopefully pushes you to improve further. Life at home is “busy” because hopefully you found an amazing spouse and are on your way to building a fantastic environment for you and your growing family.

It will be tough to fit in other activities such as socializing with friends or working out to stay fit, but that’s where discipline and prioritization come in. You get to make the choices about where you strike the right balance. You are living your life on purpose. There is no need to apologize or be frustrated if time cannot be found for each activity you used to do. Our lives naturally constrict toward a smaller number of people and pursuits that gain more of our attention.

The new job I am starting will require more time and commitment than anything else I have pursued. I will have to make decisions about how and when I incorporate the other parts of my life. I will have to say ‘no’ more often. This is all okay, because they are my choices. My hope is instead of feeling “busy,” my overriding emotions are excitement and gratitude for the opportunity.

Evidence vs. Fear

Fear is loud. Evidence is quiet. Listen to the evidence.

I like that quote. It’s a reminder to get past the headline that is supposed to induce an emotional reaction. Look for the facts instead.

Nick Maggiulli has examples of subjects that humans fear even though the available facts on those subjects look far less menacing.

RIP Roy Halladay

For a 10-year stretch (2002-2011), Roy Halladay was arguably the best pitcher in baseball. While Halladay entered pro baseball as a touted prospect, he struggled early in his career.

In his second season, he posted the worst earned run average (ERA) of any pitcher in baseball history. He was sent down to the minor leagues. It was in the minors that he retooled his approach and returned as a budding superstar.

The stories about Halladay’s intensity and preparation, even on off days, are legendary. He is one of the most beloved teammates baseball has seen in the 21st century. He set the example for star pitchers in the prime of their careers today.

Halladay died yesterday at age 40 in a plane crash. It’s rare to see an outpouring of support to this extent after an athlete’s premature demise. We can all benefit from reading some of the stories being written about Roy this week to better ourselves in the future.

Here is a good one to start from ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick.

The Only Metric That Matters for a Service Business…

…is retention. Are you able to keep your current clients?

Josh Brown states his case here in reference to financial advisory firms, but I think this perspective can be adopted by any service business.

Focus on overdelivering for the clients you have, and odds are others will recognize the value of your product/service when you inquire about working with them too.

The three bullet points I liked best from Josh’s post:

— Tell the clients what you are going to do and then do it

— Turn away potential clients whose objectives are not within your circle of competence

— Standardize the process, customize the advice

Lizzie O’Leary on the Grey Area of Workplace Sexual Harassment

This column by Lizzie O’Leary at The Cut was excellent. O’Leary reflects on a career filled with moments that fall into the grey area of workplace sexual harassment. Examples include married executives and Congressmen she just finished interviewing who then asked for her number or to meet them for a drink at a late hour.

She typically let these moments slide because she did not want to jeopardize her career and/or figured no one would listen. The few times she did speak up, she was almost always told to keep it to herself.

Her hope is the next generation of women beginning their careers today do not endure a similar path. Hopefully they will know they can speak up, and the workplace environment will have improved enough to be receptive to their concerns.