There’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately as my fortieth birthday looms on the horizon – what’s the point of saving for retirement if I don’t take care of my health now?
I’ve read too many stories of people who saved their whole lives only to die before, or just after, retiring. I’d hate to think all the careful planning would be for nothing.
Plus, even if I live well into my 90’s, I want to be healthy enough to get around on my own. I envision visiting forest preserves and taking vacations, but that won’t be possible if I am in poor health.
Coincidentally, I was at the library earlier this week when I came across this book.
I devoured it in a single night. Unfortunately, I learned that while I’m doing some things right when it comes to my health, there is definitely room for improvement.
Things I’m doing right:
Working out 20-30 minutes 3-4 times a week on my elliptical machine
Eating fruits & vegetables
Getting at least 6.5 hours of sleep every night (although my body prefers 8-9)
Keeping my stress levels low
Things I’m doing that are a detriment to my health:
Eating processed foods and junk food
Not eating any fish
Not pushing myself harder on the elliptical machine or doing any weight training
Taking vitamins & supplements
Not having correct posture
Sitting too much
I’m sure there’s more but there’s only so many things I can tackle at once.
Eating properly is a tough one because all the foods I really enjoy are not the most nutritious things to eat. I don’t eat fried foods constantly, but I do like red meat, bread, and potato chips. Plus I love to bake. Eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and while I do eat fruits and vegetables, I wonder how much of the “bad stuff” is affecting my overall health.
I will try and add interval and weight training to my schedule, however. I have been doing the interval stuff a little already, but no weight training. I can do that while I watch TV. That could also help with the whole sitting too much thing if I stand while doing it.
The vitamin thing really throws me because I’ve always heard vitamins are good for you. Now studies are showing that multivitamins in particular are linked to a higher risk of mortality. I do not take a multivitamin, but I do take a few single vitamins for very specific health reasons:
- Vitamin D since my levels were low before I started taking it
- Vitamin B12 to help with a balance issue
- Magnesium to help with a balance issue as well as to promote better sleep
- Probiotic for digestion (plus I’ve found it helps me not gain weight as quickly)
I read in the book that taking a low-dose aspirin daily minimizes inflammation in the body. Inflammation contributes to the development of a host of diseases, including cancer, so this week I’ve started taking one of those as well.
In addition, I’m trying to improve my posture. My back hurts already because it’s not used to it, but I will suffer through the discomfort for the long term gain of a longer life expectancy (according to the book).
Changing things for the better is not going to be easy, and I will admit right now that some things might not change because I know myself too well and I don’t want to give up the foods I love, but I will try to cut back on the junk food. Everything in moderation, right?
What things have you changed recently to adopt a healthier lifestyle?