Stepping Up In Early Retirement


I have written a couple posts about fitness in early retirement.  It’s not my favorite topic, but I learned that almost every early retiree I connect with became MORE fit after they left the workplace.  I also bought a bike last summer and I set a goal of increasing my daily activity by 80% to 12,000 steps a day as a first step to getting back into 5K shape:

Since I’ve been off the job for almost 5 weeks now, I thought I would give a quick check-up on how this is all going.  I should note that I actually hate exercising.  Some people love the rush & satisfaction that comes from an intense work out, but frankly it’s a chore for me. 

  • It’s My Job – Following my Dad’s advice that “your health is your job now” I’m off to a good start one month I nto my new vocation.  I’ve been getting going in the morning and tracking my activity through my iPhone Health tracker. I’ve been pretty diligent in my metrics – if you don’t measure it, you can’t do anything about it.
  • I’m Hitting My Numbers – 12,000 steps a day didn’t seem like a lot when I reverse-engineered what fitness looked like, but it is a lot more than what I was doing.  I need a conscious plan each day to get there, otherwise I end up on the treadmill at the end of the day.  I averaged 12.8K steps a day for the month, despite starting a few days after the month started. That’s practically DOUBLE the average daily activity that I recorded in the 6 months prior to not working.
  • Eating Less Too – Although I didn’t set a specific goal for daily calories, they have gone down from 3,300 per day (imputed) to 2,250 a day (tracked).  That’s a 32% decline.  Not going out to those “Dump of the Month” lunches with MegaCorp colleagues (which became weekly, then more often) has probably helped a lot.
  • Not Biking Yet –  My spiffy new bike hasn’t been part of the routine yet.  In fact, I haven’t even aired up the tires yet for Spring.  It was pretty miserable weather here over the last few weeks for biking, although my friendly neighborhood bike dealer has been riding every day and posting his “3o day bike challenge” on Facebook.  What a show off.
  • Weather Improving – This week the weather in the Twin Cities has taken a dramatic turn for the better.  Most of the steps I’ve been getting in have been on the treadmill, but I took a nice walk/run around one of our beautiful urban lakes yesterday (OK, it was after meeting a pal for Chicago-style pizza!) and I’ll venture out for a real RUN tomorrow (not looking forward to it).
  • Not 5K Certified Yet – I started following a “5K Training Plan” about 3 weeks ago, but have only finished the training targets from the first two weeks.  I’ll be out with a big training run in the morning, but I don’t have enough time to be prepped for the 5K Apple Blossom run on 5/15 that a MegaCorp friend invited me to (sorry, RS!). I’m guessing mid-June is a possibility.
  • Tennis / Golf Anyone? –  My brother has been calling to get a weekly tennis time set up on the calendar. Tennis is definitely one of my favorite ways to get my steps in. While not super intense, doing something that is competitive makes a chore enjoyable.  My other brothers & Dad (sometimes Mom) and I also get out and golf about once a month.  I’d also like to find a friend who would like to “play 9” maybe once a week (anyone?) in the morning.  They say golf is a “good walk spoiled” but for me it is a “walk made entertaining”.

Well, today’s post isn’t as focused on personal finance or achieving early retirement, but I thought you might be interested how this post-FIRE lifestyle change is shaping up on the fitness dimension.  It was one of my key areas of focus from my “What Are You Going To Do In Early Retirement” post back in March.

Image Credit: Pixabay

17 thoughts on “Stepping Up In Early Retirement

  1. Working out can definitely be a chore, but tennis and golf are good entertaining ways to get your steps in. You should consider getting a bike trainer that props up the back wheel of your new bike, especially for one winter comes around again. You can set that up in your garage or even better in front of your tv and go for a ride 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have my treadmill right in front of a new UHD big screen in my new home office. Love it! Especially living in Minnesota where it is difficult to get outside 5 months of the year.


      1. Oooh nice setup. When I was on paternity leave a while back, I spent about an hour every day on the treadmill. I’d bring my phone, load up an episode of Battlestar Galactica, set the treadmill to max incline, and walk at a brisk pace for an episode or 2.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes – that’s perfect I need the distraction. Hop on the Netflix, And start marching.


  2. The weather in MN is looking good for the next week at least! Might be time to catch a Twins game for me!

    We got Fitbits awhile back – It is a good motivator to move more than normal at a minimum. Now that we can actually walk outside it should be easier to hit some goals.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes – love this time of year in Minnesota when everything is in bloom. Sure is fun to get outside!


  3. We (that means me!) hope to improve our fitness and general well-being by hiking a ton.
    Less breakfast muffins, more muesli; less six packs, more six pack; and a lot of biking – just off to pick up a new one this weekend after having been run over last weekend by a nurse in a car, would you believe it. Luckily, I was not run over. She was terribly apologetic to me and my bike. Insurance came through quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well as long as no one was hurt, it’s nice to be able to get a new bike. Hopefully the insurance wasn’t too stingy on the $$$.


  4. Sounds like a great start. Improving your fitness in retirement is a great idea. My cousin retired just before he’s 40. He gained quite a bit of weight while working and have since got rid of it all by biking for 40 km or more each day.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice job looking after yourself. When I retire I’d want to do roughly the same. Fitness is something you can ALWAYS do more you just have to find the fitness level that works for you and what you want to do. You’ll be much healthier for it.


    Liked by 1 person

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