A few weeks ago, a friend from high school posted that her brother had a bad heart attack and was saved by the use of stents, the same as had happened to me. She said he is doing all right, but asked me some questions about my experience as he was being released from the hospital.
I hadn’t even realized that the day she contacted me was exactly 6 months to the day of my own heart attack. It was exactly 6 months from the day after Christmas. That means the good news is that my life is so back to normal, that I hadn’t even noticed the ‘anniversary’ – nor had my wife, son, or friends.
Since your health is the greatest asset you can have in early retirement, I thought that I would provide an update on a few of the commitments I made to get my health back to 100% and how they have gone.
I’ve been pretty active since I stopped working full time back in 2016 and I’ve gotten back into full shape. I returned to the tennis court – where my heart attack had happened – just 6 weeks after the event and I continue to play a couple times per week. Last week I played 3 times and burned over 4,000 ‘active calories’.
I track my daily exercise with the Apple Watch that I bought back on New Year’s Eve and have ‘closed my rings’ for the last 175 days in a row, as you can see from the image at the top of this post. In addition to tennis, I walk or hike a lot and continue to average ~11,000 steps a day.
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My son recently sent me this great National Cancer Institute chart that shows how important keeping moving is to your overall health. As I’ve written before, few people get even close to 10K steps a day .
I love eating out, but I haven’t ever loved eating salads. I guessed that I maybe had a salad as an entree once last year, so I made a pledge to eat 2 salads a week in 2020. That would be 104 salads for the year, or about 15% of my total lunch & dinners.
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Through last week, I’ve stayed right on my goal. I’m exactly 1 salad ahead of my goal through the 4th of July. I’ve found a handful of restaurants that have great salads available, even with the CV-19 restrictions. As more places open up – like our local grocers’ salad bar – I have more & more choices. I’ve also stayed away from the junk food ‘crispy/fried chicken’ salads.
I still have a cheeseburger, BBQ, or a Mexican lunch now and then, but you’d be surprised how much less time you have for indulgences when you are trying to fit salads into your week more often.
One of the frustrating parts of having had a heart attack is the number of medications I take when I get up and go to bed. I have blood thinners, statins, and other pills that I have to take and haven’t even bothered to find out what they do. I just take them and figure the health professionals have me on the right stuff.
Thankfully, none of them are very expensive on an ongoing basis. One is just baby aspirin and another is nitro glycerin, which I keep with me, but don’t take unless I have another ‘event’. Thankfully that hasn’t happened.
I’m happy with the progress I’ve made in these three areas over the last 6 months and will try to keep ‘on plan’ through the end of the year. It’s inevitable that my streak of closing my Apple Watch fitness rings will come to an end at some point, but I’ll do my best to stretch them as long as I can.
I really appreciated all of the encouraging comments folks made on this site at the start of the year and suggestions of things to read or watch. I’ve incorporated many of those into my cardio recovery, so let me say THANK YOU to everyone that shared them!
How are you doing in your 2020 health & fitness goals?
Image Credit: Pixabay