Why Walking Is A Great Retirement Investment

The restaurant was less than a mile away from their beach condo. My friends decided to walk. Actually, the women decided to walk…the guys didn’t want to say no. The walk back was a bit of a struggle. Later one of them told me how they commented to each other how nice it would be to “walk as much as Dave without any problems.”

Listen to Dave talk about this article as he takes a walk

A few weeks after their condo-to-the-restaurant-and-back walk, one of these guys retired from the police force. He’d been there 32 years. I surprised him by showing up at work on his final day. As I was leaving, my friend told me he was going to start walking more in retirement. This made me smile because he used to take pride in how few steps he could get in a day.

FINANCIAL FREEDOM

As I approach my own retirement (still years away) I’ve been spending more time listening to personal financial podcasts. I’m particularly interested in those focused on retirement (obviously) and also those aimed at younger listeners who want to reach financial independence and retire early. This is called the FIRE movement.

Each podcast , in its own way, talks about the power of financial independence. The power of FI is not the ability to buy whatever you want. You can’t. The real power of financial independence is the ability to spend your time however you want. This is called Time Freedom. For most of us, this is the appeal of retirement.

One of our neighbors is a retired parole officer from Boston. He hasn’t worked in years. Recently he told me how much he loves getting up each day with no agenda hanging over his head. He’s thoroughly enjoying his Time Freedom.

The podcasts I’ve been listening to are helping me get ready financially for my own retirement and the Time Freedom that comes with that. But, there’s another freedom I’ve been working towards that these podcasts rarely mention…yet is a significant component of retirement.

HEALTH FREEDOM

What good is Time Freedom if I’m not healthy enough to enjoy it? Ideally, we should be investing in our health as much as we are investing our money for retirement. Yet, most of us aren’t. A full day of work saps our time and energy to exercise. Some kick the fitness can down the road and plan to pursue start exercising after they retire.

The problem with that plan is we fail to grasp just how hard that will be. The combined impact of aging and moving less will require even more energy once we start. And, for many, that can feel overwhelming.

FITNESS INVESTMENT

The better plan is to make an equal commitment to investing in both health and finances long before you retire. This will give you a better chance to enjoy both freedoms at the same time. I’ve written before that I made some poor decisions with our money about ten years ago. I’m not sure how much that set us back, but I’m certain we’d be further ahead financially right now if I’d made different choices.

Gratefully, around the same time, I also made some good decisions about my health. That’s when I made a commitment to pursue fitness. And, now as I get closer to retirement, I’m enjoying Health Freedom. I typically out about 20,000 steps on my Fitbit every day. Most of these are from walking, but some come from my daily hour long bike ride. I move a lot! And, it’s not because I have to. It’s because I want to.

HEALTH FREEDOM BENEFIT

A couple days ago, I had a regular medical procedure that people my age are supposed to get every ten years. The following day, the doctor’s office called to see how I was feeling. I said, I was feeling well enough to take an almost five mile walk a few hours after getting home and later a ten mile bike ride. The woman, on the other end of the call, laughed and said, “I guess you’re doing fine.”

To be clear…I’m not recommending doing the same. In fact, the Post Procedure instructions said, “Do Not Exercise for 24 hours.” But, one of the things Ava and I are discovering is just how much fitness makes recovery from medical procedures so much easier. This too is part of Health Freedom.

I’m grateful my friend is taking his health more serious now that he is retired. I know he was starting to see the impact the lack of Health Freedom could have on his life now that he has Time Freedom. 

It’s never to late to get started on a journey towards fitness. And, it’s never too early either. Earlier is better than later. The power of compounding interest works for both money and fitness. The sooner you start to move with intentionality…the easier it becomes and the more you’ll want to do it. Putting those 20,000 steps on my Fitbit are the most enjoyable part of my day!

I’m looking forward to the day when my Time Freedom intersects with my Health Freedom!

WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY

If you want to start investing in your fitness why not take The 30 Day Walking Challenge. This free guide has three different levels, depending on how much you’re walking right now. It’ll help you get started or add some fuel to what you’re already doing. 

If you don’t have a Fitbit I recommend the Fitbit Inspire 2! The Inspire 2 has double the battery life, and also tracks your heart rate and sleep so you get an even wider picture of your fitness progress. This is also the Fitbit I use to track my steps every day!

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(By the way…if you use the link above to buy a Fitbit Inspire 2 this blog will receive a small commission. It won’t add anything to what you pay, but letting you know is the right thing to do)

I also recommend subscribing to this blog for weekly encouragement and motivation. Establishing and maintaining a fitness habit is not easy. Receiving a regular article to help you keep moving forward might be the difference maker you need. To subscribe simply click FOLLOW (to the right if you’re reading on a computer or below if you’re on your phone)