Motivation

The physical, financial and lifestyle benefits of a healthy retirement.

Recently I mentioned seeing a guy at the gym who is at least 65, and looks more like 70, doing one rep of decline bench press with 500 pounds. I saw him again and got the picture in the header of this post along with a couple of others working his way up to a little bit less than 500 pounds this time. I don't know this guy's story or why he lifts so much weight (like if he competes in something) and being as big as he is and able to lift as much as him isn't motivating for me. That being said there are all sorts of lessons and inspiration to take from seeing this.

Over the years I've referenced the extent to which Prescott (the town in Arizona where I live) is a place where a lot of people age very successfully. More recently I mentioned that my wife and I visited our former neighbor with a backhoe. He and his wife are downsizing and gave us a lot of furniture to donate to the United Animal Friends annual rummage sale (UAF is where my wife volunteers). My neighbor with a backhoe is 87 and he and I filled the UAF van with all the furniture. Let that sink in for a moment; 87 and moving furniture.

My wife and I have been active our entire lives. Kind of like when I talk about personal finance and the few things that everyone knows like not getting into debt, not spending beyond our means and that we should be saving money everyone knows these things even if they can't live them.

So it is with exercising and nutrition. Everyone knows they should exercise and that they should eat less sugar. Again, not everyone may be able to do these things but they know about them.

Some of the related content I read claims that cutting sugar, exercising and fasting intermittently (all things I do) can reverse the aging process at the cellular level. I have no idea whether that is precisely accurate or not but it doesn't have to be. Lately at our fire trainings (I am the chief for the all volunteer Walker Fire Protection Association), before we get started I give a quick briefing that includes some sort of fitness and/or nutrition tip or idea with the caveat to go research it further if it is of interest.

In the context of firefighting, I frame this sort of health information as more about being able to do what you like for longer. In my case, I love working on a wildfire for a day or two. It is grueling and exhausting, I love it and I hope I can do it for a long time still. The 70 year old guy benching 500 pounds is a far better example of doing what you want for longer. As we get older we see more and more people our age having physical/health problems which have the tendency to make life much more difficult and potentially less fulfilling.

Even if taking care of yourself doesn't result in living longer, being to feel better and do more with the time we have is hopefully motivation to take better care of yourself with the dude pictured above as a little inspiration of what can be achieved.

When I write this type of post I like to include a positive financial aspect of being healthier for longer which is spending less money on healthcare if you avoid chronic problems by changing your behaviors and if you're genetically lucky enough to avoid disease (although changing behaviors can help on this front too).

Here's a link that says a few years ago, the average expenditure on drugs in the US was $1112/yr. We are bombarded with the idea that healthcare is the biggest expense that retirees face. The opportunity to not pay more than required Medicare premiums is very enticing. Every aspect of your financial life will be easier if you're healthier.

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