Thursday, January 10, 2013

Getting More Healthy In Retirement-Slowly But Surely

"If you aren't healthy, work to get healthy.  And if you are healthy, work to stay that way"

Where did I read this quote?  While I'm sure it appears elsewhere, it's mentioned often in the new book by Jeff Yeager, called How to Retire the Cheapskate Way:  The  The Ultimate Cheapskate's  Guide to a Better, Earlier, Happier Retirement.  I'm always interested in books on frugality and simplicity that are directed mainly to those of us who are empty nesters or retirees.

While a review of this new book will be forthcoming shortly, this quote grabbed my attention. Health is important all through life, but especially in retirement the importance of being healthy can probably not be overstated. Aside from longevity, being healthy gives one so many more advantages in retirement. Lowered health costs are always a concern, even for those who have good health insurance.  I desire to continue to travel, and walking is a large part of that for me. I want options as to where and how I live.  Finally, both my hobbies and my part time work require a certain amount of energy and activity.

I've had some successes.  I've mentioned before that a year ago I lost seventy pounds.  I have managed to keep all but about seven of that amount off. I've increased my activity level and after eating my way through Europe for seven years, have at least made some headway in more healthy eating!

I also have some unique challenges (as do many retirees). I have a knee that causes me extreme pain, and will never get better. A knee replacement will not take care of my issues. My ortho doctor has made it clear that impact exercise as well as extensions of the leg are out. Those two directives eliminate so many things, that I continue to search for creative ways to get aerobic exercise. These include "seated" aerobics and water walking (swimming is also out).

Also, although the importance of aerobic activity and movement cannot be over emphasized, there's a great deal to be said for building strength as well.  Last November, I purchased the book "Strong Women Stay Young".  It includes a scientific strength training program that builds muscle-eight exercises using minimal equipment (leg and hand weights and bands) done a few times a week. Designed for all levels the entry level has been great for me, helping me build strength as well as get better balance.

I'll never be one of those people who becomes excited at the idea of a bike ride or a long run.  Sports are not my thing, and I'll say here that up till now I have never physically "missed" exercising.  But increasing my activity makes me feel better and gives me more stamina-so in the long run, I'll continue to find ways to fit it into my lifestyle.  As for eating, I'm a gourmet eater who will probably never give up her Hollandaise sauce.  I am however, blessed to be one of those folks who never met a vegetable or fruit she didn't like. Decreasing the former and increasing the latter will hopefully work for me.

As we move through the new year, I'll attempt to find enjoyable and workable ways to exercise and increase my physical health-including those pesky immunizations that I've avoided up till now (will they even give you a flu shot when your cough sounds like a barking seal?)

What about you. Do you have healthy goals for the new year?  Let's call them goals this year-resolutions sound so.......resolute.


  1. Barb,

    I consider daily exercise to be like brushing my teeth and flossing - I may not always enjoy it, but it sure beats the alternative.

    I'm aware of several pieces of equipment at our gym that do not require leg/knee stamina. One consists solely of using one's arms to turn two pedals, a bit like when we were kids and we would turn our bikes upside down in order to use the pedals to make the wheels spin fast, the other is a rower. Both are able to provide an increased heart rate - the ultimate goal of cardiovascular exercise. All exercise burns calories, but only by increasing our heart rates do we strengthen our cardiovascular conditioning.

    Most studies I have seen indicate unhealthy eating can be offset by intense exercise. I recognize that rich foods are counter to living a healthy life, but I appreciate knowing that my daily exercise routine will help my body offset the effects when I do indulge. Which I do from time to time, I'm not perfect! :-)

  2. Hey Tamara, yes, there are a very few machines at the gymn that I could use, but my options are so limited that the value would not be worth it for me. The pool on the other hand is well worth the minimal cost of three dollars a day. I understand the need to increase my heart rate, but in my case I need to do that by water walking and the seated exercise above. I never "like" the exercise, but I agree that it beats the alternative, lol.

  3. Perfect post as I am also working on my health. I retired last March & thought taking weight off would be relatively easy, as I'd always done well when not working. Wrong. Ten months later I am just getting started, getting rid of diet sodas & going from there. Slowly but surely seems the best way to go.

    I am blessed that so far I am on the edge of issues, but have not fallen off the edge yet. I am very aware that I am living on borrowed time, however.

    Tamara's comment is awesome & a great way to approach the subject.....what is the alternative?

    I've enjoyed your blogs, although I don't always comment. Thank you for taking the time to connect.


  4. Pamela, not only is she right but shes a perfect example of someone who deliberately includes physical activity every day. while Ill never reach her level of stamina or exercise, I absolutely agree that moving somehow every day is a must for me!

    I think that its really easy when we do a change in routine for many of us to let the exercise stop by the wayside....

  5. Ladies - I must clarify that while I do prioritize being active, it truly, truly is it's own reward. The difference in how I feel mentally and physically when I set out, vs how I feel mentally and physically when I am done are polar opposites.

    I often joke that I used to exercise for vanity, but now I exercise for sanity!

    Virtual hugs to you both in your ongoing efforts. :-)

  6. Tamara, i know you have expressed before how you feel when you exercise. I think thats the athletes view. While I'm jealous, My experience is that dont necessarily feel better after exercising at the time-often I am actually in pain. But I know I feel better in the long run, so I do in its own way its still has its own reward!

  7. Elliptical trainer was recommended to me as a good non-impact aerobic machine.

  8. Good for you! I seriously need to be more active (notice I didn't say exercise because the word itself sounds like drudgery). But I joined the Volksmarchers this year and plan to walk as much as possible with them (it's way more fun to walk and chat as opposed to hopping on a gym machine and look pained).

  9. Linda, I have used the trainer with okay results depend on my knee pain on that day (I also have nerve damage there and heightened sensitivity). On the days I actually go to the gymn this is what I choose. How are you enjoying the warm weather?

  10. Cash, in younger days in germany we did many volksmarches, many of them after dark with lanterns, and I really enjoyed them (pre-fall).

  11. Barb,I love your blog.
    I hope to do yoga and chi kung more this year.
    I love walking daily.
    Since I live in Australia,I hope to spend a lots of time at the beach.

  12. Thanks for the mention of Jeff's new book - I put it on reserve at the library. Really enjoyed the other two, so looking forward to this one. I'll be interested in your review.

  13. I am in there with you all trying to keep fit in retirement. When I go traveling for a few months I can loose ten or so pounds but when I am home it all comes back on when I am near the fridge! I always say....I will not put it back on....but here I am again! Too many sweet treats. I do walk and ride my bike around town as well as go swimming. My New Years goal is to eat fresh green leaves from my herb and green leaf container garden every day. aloha

  14. I have been going to a twice a week Strong Women Strong Bones class since September and am already noticing that I am stronger!

  15. Rocking, it's always nice to have visible results of your hard work along the way!

  16. Barb, I am so pleased the book was helpful for you. Jackie

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