At Get Results Fitness we believe it is wise for you to view your fitness like a pension, the earlier you start contributing to it – the better.
The same principal if someone started to contribute to their pension in their teens, and did it consistently for the rest of their working lives – come retirement time they would have a very positive financial future ahead of the them.
If you start to exercise regularly now, eat a healthy diet the majority of the time and don’t have too much stress in your life, the chances are you’ll have an amazing time on this earth and be able to do the things you enjoy and want to do for a very long time well into your retirement years.
When my first son Dominic was born almost 7 years ago I was at a fitness conference, and one of the speakers got us to write down everything that is important to us in our life.
All the expected stuff was there for me, but the big surprise came when he asked us to put them in order of importance…
To my surprise, when I took a few minutes to really think about it I put my health, on top, above my newborn son who I absolutely adored.
When I really thought about it, it became clear to me that for me to be the dad I want to be I am going to need great health. I want to inspire (my now two boys) through my actions. I want to have enough energy to be present with them and when I see how blessed they are having fit and healthy grandparents I want to be that for them in the future if they are lucky enough to have a family in many years time.
So this is what shapes my decision making on a day to day basis. Don’t get me wrong it is not perfect but like a pension I am hoping the cumulative effect of my mostly good habits will benefit me in many years to come.
Another reason why I am trying my best to invest in my health right now is because many of our clients are either approaching their retirement age or are already retired to some degree. One of the lessons I have learned from them is that no matter how much money you have managed to accumulate over your lifetime – if your health is not great you are not going to get much out of your retirement, and chances are you are not going to be very happy!
Another benefit to viewing your health like a pension is that you won’t beat yourself up too much if you go off course slightly.
A week or two of eating rubbish is not really going to impact your health much. It is what we do consistently over many years that will most likely decide our health outcomes. So people who take this approach are more likely to be less hard on themselves and be secure that they are generally on track for what they would like for their long term health.
This approach can also be useful when it comes to your exercise program. It really upsets me when I see runners running with bandaged knees clearly grimacing through a run just so as they are going to stay ‘on course’ with their training program. Or when you see or hear the person who is over worked, burnt out and stressed still setting their alarm for 6am to get to the gym and blast themselves through a hardcore workout.
If they were taking a more long term approach to their health they would be able to take a step back and see that their behaviours are most likely going to be damaging their chance of enjoying a healthy body in many years to come. That perhaps more rest or lighter workouts might be better for them at that particular time. If you are viewing your health as a pension approach the chances of you crash dieting, going way off course for long periods, overtraining, getting frustrated with your progress is greatly reduced.
Where the viewing your health is like a pension rule doesn’t stack up however is that it is not too late for you if you haven’t done it for most of your life.
Chances are if you are 50 and just thinking about putting something away for your pension you are going to find it really difficult to make up all those missed years of not paying in to a pension. However, the amazing thing about your health is that in almost every case it is never too late to get healthy.
We have worked with countless people over the years who have come to us and who have neglected their health for many years (often decades). But then with a well structured approach to their workouts and lifestyle they can still achieve that goal of enjoying their retirement with a body that is functioning well. A body that will allow them to travel, have hobbies, and enjoy their family.
So although it makes much more sense to invest in your health as early in your life as you can, it is never too late to make those changes that affect your health outcomes.
My final comparison with health to pensions is by comparing health to a trust fund.
If you think about it, many people look enviously at the person who has inherited a nice big trust fund to set them up for their life, they think they are so lucky to inherit such a gift for their life. But I would argue that most of us have actually been given a much more valuable gift than a big trust fund – we have been given the gift of a healthy body.
I would argue that this gift is worth much more than a healthy trust fund. The opportunities and experiences we can have with a healthy body are almost limitless, and, as I say – can bring us the kind of happiness money can’t buy.
So are you going to start from today, investing in your health pension? If you are – the four key areas we would recommend that you focus on are:
- Movement – Try and keep moving most days, get a bit hot and sweaty as often as you can
- Diet – Eat a diet high in vegetables and fruit and minimise the process foods
- Stress – Try and keep your stress levels at a manageable level
- Strength Training – Do strength training 2-3 times per week. Your muscles will be there for you as long as you pay them a bit of attention on a regular basis.
Trust me – this will be an investment that won’t crash, no matter what else is going on in the outside world and one that you can have a great deal of control over.