As a boomer doing my own version of “Freedom 55” (that is reinventing myself by doing what I probably should have done 30 years ago had it been an option), I learned the hard way about taking care of my health as well as my wealth in my 40s. I was working more than ever (several part-time jobs), had 2 teenagers, a husband, a dog, house etc. and started to neglect the fitness and nutrition habits that I had developed in my 20s and 30s. I was just in the throes of peri-menopause, with the requisite hot flashes, anxiety, heavy periods and consequent anemia. After all was said and done I found myself through menopause by age 47 but with hypothyroidism due to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease. At 50 my first bone density test was met with a diagnosis of osteoporosis. I was becoming my mother without the smoking and drinking. That set me on the course of reinventing myself and learning all I could about these conditions and working hard to get my fitness and health back. But it has been a long journey with many setbacks, mostly in the form of injuries, including a broken arm. My physiotherapist and chiropractor have become very good friends.
Do you know anyone who is working and always sick or lacking energy or retired only to get ill or injured and not really able to enjoy his/her new-found freedom? My husband and I certainly do. He comes home nearly every day and tells me about the ill health of his co-workers or former co-workers. One who is on blood pressure medication and cholesterol medication in his 40s. Or another co-worker who can’t gain weight, so he eats as much junk food as possible and wonders why he has no energy. And yet another who finally retired at 65 and a short time after retirement, he found himself sick in bed for a month with doctors scratching their heads about a diagnosis. And lastly, the countless friends and acquaintances, who have broken bones in falls. Luckily they were younger and made good recoveries, but:
Health and fitness is especially important in your 40s and 50s, so that you can enjoy your 60s, 70s and beyond in the best health possible. That way you can still contribute and remain functional, able-bodied, with good cognitive function and enjoy your “golden years”. We look after our wealth by working as much as possible in those years and then find ourselves not able to enjoy it because we forget to look after our health.
So don’t wait “until you retire” to spend time getting into shape and eating well. Your chances of preventing chronic disease conditions (cancer, diabetes and heart disease), is so much better when you start earlier. Coping with the stresses of your young working life is so much easier when you are fit and healthy with good digestive function.
Unfortunately, our health care system doesn’t reward you financially by supporting your efforts to prevent illness through diet and exercise. They jump in to treat symptoms with pharmaceuticals once illness has developed, with many side effects and progressive decline, as the cause is never addressed.
So you have to take control of your own health and start a functional fitness program (hire a trainer if needed), and improve your diet (see a holistic nutritionist for a customized diet program) for optimal wellness, weight management and good digestive function.
“The Dalai Lama was asked what surprised him most, he said “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
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Tanya Sullivan is a Holistic Nutrition Consultant with many opinions on the state of our food and health.
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