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Old 05-18-2019, 11:00 PM
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Not straining to do something physical. Am I just being lazy or being smarter?


As I'm nearing my 6th decade on this Earth, I find myself not bothering to strain to do something physical if I can do it an easier (sometimes longer) way.

I just opened two bottles of spaghetti with a jar opener. I could have opened them without it, but figured why strain when I don't have to? I don't have anything to prove to myself or anyone else at my age. Struggle and carry all the groceries in one trip or make two trips? Take two trips.

I actually kind of like playing the "weak old man". I now understand what my Dad was about when as a youngster, I'd try to move as quickly and carry as much as "the big guys" and my Dad and Uncle would sit back and say, "Let the strong back, weak minds do it!"

I've hurt my back several times in the past, though thankfully not bad enough to require treatment and since I work at a desk job, there's no light duty for me if I can't sit still for 8 hours.

Low T? ED? No matter since I've not sexually active and unlikely to be anytime in the future, near or distant.

Last edited by lingyi; 05-18-2019 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 05-18-2019, 11:44 PM
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That all sounds like the definition of 'work smarter, not harder'.
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Old 05-19-2019, 12:05 AM
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Laziness is its own reward.
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Old 05-19-2019, 12:14 AM
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I wouldn't worry about it to much, but I will say that the physically active and involved older people I know seem to be happier.
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Old 05-19-2019, 12:25 AM
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It's important to stay active as you age. Get out and take walks. Join a seniors water aerobics class.

It is smart to take your time with chores around the house. Carry in the groceries in two easy trips instead of one heavy load.

I used to over stuff garbage bags and struggle carrying them outside. Bags are cheap. Now I fill them more reasonably and give myself a break.

Last edited by aceplace57; 05-19-2019 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 05-19-2019, 12:26 AM
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I guess it depends on how you're wired. My grandfather is closing in on 80. He's worked hard his whole life and though he's long since retired he still does contractor jobs as recent as last year and he does a lot of mechanical and yard work around his house.

He doesn't like to just sit around but he also probably doesn't push himself too hard and I'm sure doesn't do things that he thinks will injure himself unnecessarily.

Honestly I think if he just sat around the house after he retired and watched football he probably would have died years ago, he had a need to work he's just that type of guy. As you age I think it's important to try to keep some measure of physical strength and stamina but you don't have to kill yourself to do it, there is a balance in there somewhere.
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Old 05-19-2019, 02:38 AM
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To each his own I guess. Some people (such as myself) like to stay in shape even as they get older. I'm in my 7th decade and I still cycle just as much as I did 20 years ago. The main evidence for aging I experience is when I cycle up a certain very steep and long hill, I have to stop part way up, which I didn't do in earlier years. Well, I could keep going if I absolutely had to, but on warm days, I'm usually overheating about there.
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Old 05-19-2019, 06:47 AM
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I just opened two bottles of spaghetti with a jar opener.
Bottles of spaghetti?
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Old 05-19-2019, 07:42 AM
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Bottles of spaghetti?
Probably spaghetti sauce. OP was too lazy to type "sauce".
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Old 05-19-2019, 08:11 AM
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Not hurting yourself by straining at something is smart.

Letting your body get weak and slack is more stupid than lazy. Inactive people deteriorate, in every way, inside and out, much faster than active people. Our bodies are made to be used, and to move. You'll be happier, healthier, and saner, if you keep moving.
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Old 05-19-2019, 08:14 AM
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Heck, I'm only at the end of my 4th decade and I approach many physical tasks this way. It's a matter of pacing for me as my job is pretty much labor. I like having a bit of energy at the end of the day, and feeling just tired, not wiped out. I'm not the only one where I work that thinks that way, and yes, all of us "old" people also say let the strong but dumb do it the hard way if they want.

When I reach my latter years of retirement, I probably will delve into some sort of mildly physically demanding hobby/retirement income for "beer and smokes money" like maybe building furniture from reclaimed wood or something, just to stave off boredom.
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Old 05-19-2019, 08:25 AM
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Probably spaghetti sauce. OP was too lazy to type "sauce".
Ok that was pretty funny.
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Old 05-19-2019, 09:42 AM
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My Daddy was 86 when he died. He was still working a retirement job. Took dance classes and danced 2 nights a week at a seniors dance party. As one of the few men who enjoyed it he had too many partners. Went to horse race track nearly everyday. He was an active gardener and a general busy body in his community. He said he would never sit down until some higher power decided to sit him down. It's exactly what happened. He died suddenly, unexpectedly from a brain aneurysm.
Me, otoh, I think I'll laze my way to the end. I've been practicing it for several years. I'm getting good at it.

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 05-19-2019 at 09:42 AM.
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Old 05-19-2019, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
As I'm nearing my 6th decade on this Earth, I find myself not bothering to strain to do something physical if I can do it an easier (sometimes longer) way.

I just opened two bottles of spaghetti with a jar opener. I could have opened them without it, but figured why strain when I don't have to? I don't have anything to prove to myself or anyone else at my age. Struggle and carry all the groceries in one trip or make two trips? Take two trips.

I actually kind of like playing the "weak old man". I now understand what my Dad was about when as a youngster, I'd try to move as quickly and carry as much as "the big guys" and my Dad and Uncle would sit back and say, "Let the strong back, weak minds do it!"

I've hurt my back several times in the past, though thankfully not bad enough to require treatment and since I work at a desk job, there's no light duty for me if I can't sit still for 8 hours.

Low T? ED? No matter since I've not sexually active and unlikely to be anytime in the future, near or distant.
You may not realize it, but this thread marries up very well with the one in GD about toxic masculinity. And only because you think this might have something to do with your testerone level.

I believe it is almost always better to “work smarter, not harder” just in the way you describe. I’m a woman who lacks upper body strength, and I learned a long time ago that I can carry 40lbs worth a groceries in a single trip, but this comes at a cost that isn’t worth it. Namely, my energy to do other things. So I don’t try to carry 40lbs.

I also almost always use scissors to cut open container bags and pouches. Why should I put wear and tear on my wrist joints when there are tools made to help? I don’t have arthritis and it’s my plan to keep it that way.

But I see that it’s easy for me to make these choices because I’m a woman. Men stand to lose something when they admit to taking physical shortcuts; they are encouraged to push themselves even if that means risking back and knee injuries.

Last edited by you with the face; 05-19-2019 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 05-19-2019, 10:42 AM
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I do think there's value in doing "hard" things. Like, I walk to work even though I could drive or take the bus. Because I need the exercise and the couple of hours of meditation. I do my own yardwork even though I could hire someone to do it for me for the same reason. And even though it's hot, tiring work, I also get some enjoyment out of it.

But I don't "strain" myself over a certain level. I could mow my front and backyards in one felled swoop, but instead I break up over two days. I could walk to work in all weather conditions, but instead I take the bus when my lower and upper temperature limits have been exceeded. I could walk on the weekends too, but instead I take a rest and give my legs a chance to recover from whatever I've put them through M-F. I know I'm a bad ass. I don't have to prove anything to anyone.
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Old 05-19-2019, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by lingyi View Post

... I actually kind of like playing the "weak old man". I now understand what my Dad was about when as a youngster, I'd try to move as quickly and carry as much as "the big guys" and my Dad and Uncle would sit back and say, "Let the strong back, weak minds do it!" ...
I know we are dealing with anecdotes here, not data, but out of curiosity how long did your Dad and Uncle live and what was their quality of life like in their later years?

No need to kill ourselves trying to live up to some standard, and it does not need to be "straining", but, anecdotally, the people I've known who have kept trying to be physical have lived longer and more importantly with less disability as they aged. There is also lots of data on this if needed.

You are at a point during which you are making withdrawals from your muscle mass bank just as a function of aging. That decreased muscle mass and strength with aging is officially referred to as "sarcopenia". It is why many men are not playing the weak old man - they are weak old men - hobbling and not able to do many of the normal activities of daily living on their own. Your best protection from it was putting more strength in the bank when you were younger (too late for that now) and doing strength activities now (obviously not too late).

FWIW.
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Old 05-19-2019, 04:51 PM
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That Reminds me of a guy I worked construction with during college summer break.

We were unloading plywood and carrying it inside for the subflooring. He carried two sheets at a time. I struggled carrying one

I asked him why he carried two? He said it was because he wanted to be capable of carrying one sheet by himself later in life.

I stuck with carrying one. But I understood his point.

Last edited by aceplace57; 05-19-2019 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 05-19-2019, 06:10 PM
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I know we are dealing with anecdotes here, not data, but out of curiosity how long did your Dad and Uncle live and what was their quality of life like in their later years?

No need to kill ourselves trying to live up to some standard, and it does not need to be "straining", but, anecdotally, the people I've known who have kept trying to be physical have lived longer and more importantly with less disability as they aged. There is also lots of data on this if needed.

You are at a point during which you are making withdrawals from your muscle mass bank just as a function of aging. That decreased muscle mass and strength with aging is officially referred to as "sarcopenia". It is why many men are not playing the weak old man - they are weak old men - hobbling and not able to do many of the normal activities of daily living on their own. Your best protection from it was putting more strength in the bank when you were younger (too late for that now) and doing strength activities now (obviously not too late).

FWIW.
My Dad passed away unexpectedly at 67 from a heart attack, though in general good health (heart issues run in my Dad's side of the family) and my uncle through marriage passed away in his 90's, after years of suffering from Alzheimers. Like most men of their generation, they were DIYers. "Why hire someone to do it, if you can do it yourself!".

I was hit with food poisoning last weekend and rode it out mostly by sleeping for two days straight and kept thinking about how my Dad and grandfather would have "worked it out!" Don['t feel good? Get some sunshine, do some yardwork and sweat it out! That will fix ya!

I appreciate and agree that I should be more active and get more exercise (as in versus the zero I do now) to prevent turning into a bigger blob than I am, but I'm also conscious of the effects (such as joint issues) of doing things the wrong way in my youth (typical things like jumping and landing wrong, lifting, pulling, pushing things way heavier than I should have) have wrought.

My general outlook on life is, if I can take the easy way out, why not. This is not only for physical tasks, but mental ones as well. I don't remember the last time I did a math problem with pencil and paper.
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Old 05-19-2019, 06:29 PM
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I am about your age. Two years ago, I realized i had reached the point of, "if you don't use it, you lose it". I have always been strong, and that was a depressing realization. Since then, I've been doing weight-bearing exercise on a regular basis, along with exercising my core. I hate exercise. But I don't want to be weak and disabled, not more than I have to be.

I do agree with your point about being careful not to injure stuff, though, and I'm quite protective of my joints. I've gotten professional help to marry these goals.
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Old 05-19-2019, 08:17 PM
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It's important to stay active as you age. Get out and take walks. Join a seniors water aerobics class.

It is smart to take your time with chores around the house. Carry in the groceries in two easy trips instead of one heavy load...
I agree with this. There's a difference between working smarter, and not doing anything physical at all.

My parents were a case in point. They grew up in the depression and worked hard all their lives. As life got easier, they took it easier and easier until they were hardly doing anything at all physically. When they had physical problems they were unable to bounce back, and mostly unwilling to do any "unnecessary" exercise, even when it was to help them recover from an injury.

My father was around 81 or 82 and he wanted to go on a tour of Australia, one that would require a lot of walking. So he hired a personal trainer and worked out on the treadmill. Only he would piss and moan whenever the trainer tried to make him walk faster and longer. So when he went on the trip, he wasn't able to keep up and missed out on a lot of stuff on the trip. When he came back, he complained about how bad the personal trainer was.
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Old 05-19-2019, 08:48 PM
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I've never been what anyone would call "graceful" and my wife constantly worries that I'll break something while flipping a light switch. You have my permission to hire someone to open jars for you.
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:01 AM
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A long time ago I had a summer job with a large theatrical festival. We used these rolls of really large heavy inflexible cables that kinked easily. The only “approved” way to unroll them was to stand them on edge and unroll them by sort of bouncing them, which was very physically strenuous as the rolls weighed over a hundred pounds. This was usually a two person job

I did not like my job that summer and I had a difficult time with my “crewmates” due to a situation I was unaware of when I was hired. There was a member of the design team that wanted me to work there and had pulled some strings to get me the job. A job that traditionally went to the crew heads girlfriend, whom everyone loved. So my coworkers thought of me as the person that took their friend’s job. And they were frequently not nice to me. Mostly they liked to give me tasks that were physically strenuous so they could complain that I wasnt strong enough.

So one day I was assigned to stay in the ground and unroll the cables ( by myself ), as someone on a level above me pulled them up. I examined the task and realized I could get the same result by setting the roll on its side on top of a dolly and spinning the dolly to unroll the cable. So when my “teammates” came over to check on me, hoping to find me struggling with these cable rolls I couldn’t lift, they instead found me standing leisurely, kicking a dolly with one foot. The looks on their face were priceless.

Last edited by Ann Hedonia; 05-20-2019 at 09:03 AM.
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Old 05-20-2019, 10:33 PM
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As I'm nearing my 6th decade on this Earth...
Just checking... Are you about to turn 60? If so, you're concluding your sixth decade, and nearing your seventh.

If you're about to turn 50, you got it right. Carry on.
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Old 05-21-2019, 10:10 AM
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I believe that best workers in the world are lazy people who know how to work. They are going to do it the best way possible and make fewer mistakes because they don't like fixing them.

When I was hiring people I always asked "On a scale of 1-10, how lazy are you?" If anyone answered 4 or lower, I didn't need them.
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Old 05-27-2019, 08:12 PM
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I believe that best workers in the world are lazy people who know how to work. They are going to do it the best way possible and make fewer mistakes because they don't like fixing them.

When I was hiring people I always asked "On a scale of 1-10, how lazy are you?" If anyone answered 4 or lower, I didn't need them.
Definitely agree. Truly lazy people are extremely efficient in my experience. They like getting work out of the way promptly and correctly so they can have more leisure to do nothing.
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Old 05-27-2019, 08:21 PM
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I'm all for being efficient at tasks, but my doctor assures me I'll live longer if I also take regular exercise (walking is fine.)
I'm 65.
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