Early retirement isn’t just about finances, it is also about keeping yourself healthy.
I am happy to report that I have continued my diligence in tracking my fitness activity into my second year of early retirement. My daily fitness level is up dramatically compared to my former working self. Since April of last year, I have boosted my daily steps by almost 70% to an average of 12,200 and dropped 15 pounds in the process.
To put the change in activity in perspective, I looked up how much the average American moves on a daily basis. The results were surprising only because they were so low. The website VeryWell.com had data from a number of countries and conditions. There was even a breakout for people that wear a digital fitness band. All were well short of the recommended 10,000 steps a day and even farther short of my post-retirement fitness level:
Not all steps are equal, of course, so I have also made an effort to improve the ‘quality’ of my steps by boosting the share that happen with an elevated heart rate. I don’t have a good way of tracking this, but have gradually boosted my walking speed from 3.0 to 3.8 mph (+27%) on the treadmill and also getting back to playing weekly tennis (for ~90 minutes) now that warm weather has returned. I am also playing softball weekly in a league and my brothers and I have set up a golf date every other week. I love the variety and see many more opportunities to spend more time outside as the cold weather recedes.
Since I am wishing for a long, healthy retirement – over three or four decades – I would hardly say that I have my full retirement fitness focus locked in. I wouldn’t even say I am doing as much as many (working) friends of mine are doing. That said, I do recognize that staying in shape is truly ‘my job’ now. I am so fortunate to have the time and resources to do my job however I want. I have a terrific treadmill at home with a big screen TV and my iPad to utilize. I have also set a goal of exploring one local park a week now that the warm weather has returned. I certainly have the time to get in the car and check out spaces around our metro area.
To boost accountability, I track all of my numbers in my iPhone and then put them in a spreadsheet. Last year I reached 4,000,000 steps for the year and already this year I am at 1,500,000 steps. At this rate, I will beat last year by more than 500,000 steps. I’m already up by 300,000 through the end of April. It’s funny that I used to track daily sales, weekly budgets, and monthly profits in this way when I worked for MegaCorp. Now I’m tracking my own returns – and loving what they are adding up to!
How will you stay/get focused on your health & fitness when you reach FIRE?
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