When I was in medical school and about 22 years old, an erudite 50-year old professor made a claim that the warranty on the human body wears out at age 45. As I fidgeted in my uncomfortable back row seat in a packed classroom, I thought to myself---what an old man. I couldn't even contemplate what it would feel like to be 45 or 50. I can now attest to the validity of my professor's claim because I have seen friends, family members and patients endure unexpected medical issues in their 40s. I have a suggestion: Open a BodyIRA.
What is a BodyIRA? It's not a financial investment, but an investment in good health practices. Think of a BodyIRA as a bridge to your future health. Just like a retirement savings account, a BodyIRA is a gift you give to yourself, by taking care of yourself now so you can be healthy far into the future. And just like retirement savings, the sooner you begin to contribute to your BodyIRA, the more benefits you will reap later in life.
Request to join the BodyIRA LinkedIn Group
(Goal: share ideas about health and fitness)
1. Maintain or work toward your ideal body weight (Keep a daily record of your weight)
2. Stretch your hamstrings and develop strong legs (See the PowerKnee Program)
3. Focus on your posture (Sit up and Stand up straight)
4. Get 7-8 hours of sleep per night or more
Consistent exercise, a healthy diet coupled with stable sleep patterns are like buying index funds for your future health. In our twenties, we are told to begin contributing to a retirement savings plan like a 401k or an individual retirement account (IRA). Put away a little money each month and you will see it grow into millions of dollars over the course of the next 40 years. We need to emulate that sage advice and translate it to our health.
BodyIRA leads to dramatic dividends later. One profound example is bone density in women. Women in their teens and early twenties are building their bony framework. In their thirties and beyond, they will make withdrawals from this bone bank. If they do not deposit enough early on, they pay a heavy price later in the form of osteoporosis.
We have all heard this type of advice before but let's make it actionable. Don't just take it from a friend or a medical professional. Take it directly from your future self. What would your ten-years-older self have to say to your current self? If that older you limped in the door and looked at what you were doing, he or she might just scream at you to get your butt off the couch, stop bingeing on Netflix and get some exercise. Begin by committing to writing down your weight daily and doing some simple leg exercises. (See PowerKnee Program) If you can initiate the habit of contributing to your BodyIRA for two weeks, you will experience some immediate benefits and also be contributing to your future health.
Importantly, it's never too late to open a BodyIRA. Don't worry if you are in your 30s, 40s, 50s or even beyond 60, you can still work toward a better physical and mental situation. Much like a "catch up" contribution to your 401k or IRA, if you start later, you will need to pay more. Also, as we age, the body requires more maintenance. Don't get mad about it and neglect your aging engine and wheels. Respect your future health and start your own BodyIRA today. You will reap the priceless reward of future well-being.