A Healthier You
'Hospital floor or gym floor - where would you rather be?' That's what I ask my non-compliant patients who don't want to do their exercise therapy to make themselves better.
We often think of medical expenses at a time when we are least capable of coping with them - when we're sick. With healthcare costs increasing, the sooner we plan for our health, the sooner we'll start planning a healthier life. That's what real health care is. The medical model we follow now is more like sick care. So what do we do as we face medical bills looming over us threatening to wipe out our savings?
According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute a man who retires at 65 can expect to live until 83. He will need to have around $65k to $109k in those years to cover insurance premiums and out of pocket expenses.
For women, the EBRI says retiring at 65 and living until 85 will mean she'll need $88k to $146k for insurance premiums and out of pocket expenses which works out to $366 to $608 a month. Both men and women will need these amounts on hand to provide a 50% chance of having enough to cover these expenses. If you're getting $1000 a month from Social Security these costs will eat up about 25% to 60% of those payments alone.
If you have managed to secure a considerable nest egg, good for you. If you haven't, it might be time get some part time work. Besides, retirement is boring. You know, all that rest and relaxation gets old pretty quick.
Here's a novel idea that can save you money on healthcare costs. According to the National Foundation for anti-aging, "most aging is premature." Poor posture, low energy, brittle bones are not aging, but a disease. Sitting around, also known as the Disuse Syndrome causes weakness, frailness and aging at a much faster rate. You can stay out of the health care merry-go-round much better with some good habits. And just how do you do that? Start an exercise program geared towards your needs, abilities or limitations. That means if you have limited mobility, seek seated exercise programs. If your knees are gone, ride a bike or do some gentle exercise programs. If you have asthma, don't take up hiking in the mountains. Start slow and take walks around the neighborhood. It's important to find something you enjoy because you're more likely to do it. The more you do it the healthier you get. If you have arthritis, do an exercise program especially for arthritis and limber up your joints and muscles.
You needn't strive to be an athlete. If you are just getting started, exercise will make you healthier. You'll have stronger muscles to lift things, denser bones to absorb shock from falls and a stronger heart to pump more blood and oxygen to all the organs in your body which makes them all work better. Pills, sometimes necessary, are not always an easy fix and can cause many undesirable side effects and mask the symptoms. Exercise can get to the root of the problem and eliminate the cause. There are countless examples of people who were taking a dozen pills a day that went down to 2, 3 or none a day because of regular exercise.
The healthier you are, the less likely it is you will have to employ the skills and costs of doctors, nurses, physical or occupational therapists and pharmacists for whatever ails you. They worked long and hard to acquire those skills and they can't afford to work cheap. You worked long and hard for your money and you can't afford to lose it all to Twinkies and watching TV. Planning for your health now is better than being a patient in a sick care plan.
Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.