Yes, I know, you hate exercise, it hurts, you’ve never done it anytime in your life, you’re tired of annoying people like me telling you that it’s important, and you have 12 other reasons for not doing it.
Let’s say you’re one of us who doesn’t make a gigantic salary. And let’s also say that your health insurance is either non-existent, or that you do have insurance, but it’s very expensive and covers less and less every day. Maybe over the years you’ve experienced some layoffs or personal problems, and this made it difficult for you to build up a huge retirement nest egg.
Later on, you realize that you’re nearing retirement age, but after crunching a few numbers, you are shocked to find that you can’t just stop working and chill out. Well, you can, but you’d have to stop eating and having shelter, or at least would have to have a major housing downgrade. Your pension is non-existent or small, and your social security benefits are inadequate.
You have to work, or you’ll go broke. You’re shocked and indignant, but after some thought you figure you can just keep working a few more years if you have to. But you’ve never taken care of yourself, so you’re not sure you feel able to continue working, and employers may be hesitant to hire you whether they’re being discriminatory or not. And you have some chronic health problems that are mostly covered by insurance, but you have to make up the difference. And if you stop working, where will that money come from?
Does this seem like an economic horror story? I apologize for the grim tone, but that was actually my intention in this case. It’s a doomsday scenario, but if you’ve been talking to anyone lately or reading the news, you’ll know that it’s not particularly far-fetched. Those of you who are rolling in cash can breathe a sigh of relief. And I’ll bet some of you young guys out there are thinking, “I’m good – this won’t happen to me”. 😉 Well, I hope you’re right. But I don’t think so.
You can’t control the economy. You can’t control gas prices and the cost of food. You can’t force employers to give you large quantities of money (well, unless you’re heavily armed). One thing you can control is your body. No, you actually can, to a large extent. Medical research studies have been done to quantify how much various factors affect one’s health, divided up by percentage. How you treat your own body was found to have the largest effect, way up there at about 70%, and your doctor’s input is way down the list, closer to around 20%. Many people do notice that even if they take their meds, they still feel awful, so they will accept that the doctor isn’t fixing them. Good doctors will back this up, telling you that yes, medical attention is very important, but how you live you own life is critical. But many people would like to think that if they just take their pills they’ll be fine – this is the very common passive approach to personal health.
Now that I’ve made you feel awful, what can you do? Well, if you start being active and even paying a small amount of attention to your diet, maybe you’ll have no problem working a little past the age of 62 if you have to. Heck, you don’t even necessarily have to hire a personal trainer and sweat it out like The Biggest Loser contestants on TV, although if you can do that, more power to you! Just try to take a walk every day. I’m pretty sure this won’t kill you. And as you get more active, you’ll do even better.
There are no guarantees, but taking care of yourself will give you a MUCH better chance. Or you can roll up in a ball and hope it will all go away. You have the power!