Health Stuff

When I get to FI or early retirement, I would hope that everything is healthy – my finances, my body and my mind. Looking around at many PF/FI blogs, this is something which many bloggers strive towards and I’m no different.
Of course, just as you don’t know what the stock market will throw at you to disrupt your investments, you also don’t know what life (and age) will throw at your body and mind. 
In an attempt to keep disruptions to my finances to a minimum, I try to diversify my investments and live a relatively frugal life to keep expenses down.
In trying to keep my body healthy, I exercise regularly and have a (mostly) healthy diet. I drink alcohol moderately (on occasion, excessively) but I don’t smoke.
I try to keep my mind active by reading a lot (books and internet) and learning new things. I used to enjoy doing puzzles, eg crosswords and sudoku – maybe it’s something I need to start doing again.
Health Check

Image from focalpointsps.com

While things continue to rumble on in the background at work, I’m still able to enjoy the little things the company provides us from time to time – such as free mini health checks.

The last one we had was to check our cholesterol and blood sugar levels – I was fine for both, which is good as diabetes runs on my Mum’s side of the family, in particular among the females.. 

This time round, we were checking our blood pressure, Body Mass Index (BMI), body fat / muscle mass and Metabolic Age.

Results

My blood pressure was normal – in fact, low blood pressure generally runs in the family.

My BMI is 21.5, which is in the ‘healthy’ range.  BMI is a number that’s calculated using your height and your weight. You can calculate your own here.

My muscle mass is apparently quite a bit above average (for my gender and age group) – I guess this might be because I have included more core strength and weight-training as part of my gym routine this year. 

My body fat mass is conversely very much below average, which surprised me until I saw my muscle mass number.  Nothing to be concerned about anyway, it’s not like I’m skinny or underweight!

Metabolic Age is a number that comes from comparing your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) with the BMR average of your actual age group. BMR is a measurement of your bodyโ€™s use of energy and is usually interpreted as the minimum level of calories your body needs in its resting state (including sleeping) each day. 

The generic formula for figuring out BMR is based on gender, age, height, and weight.  Depending on how you compare, you are assigned a metabolic age number that can be lower or higher than your actual age. 

A metabolic age number younger than your actual age generally means that you are fitter and in better health than the average, the lower the age the better in shape you are. 
Anyway, my metabolic age was 15 years younger than my actual age, so based on this test, it looks like for now, I’ll just carry doing whatever it is I’m doing (diet and exercise-wise) as it seems to be good for me! 
If only doing this test actually turned back the clock on my actual age, haha! ๐Ÿ™‚ 

One of the guys in our department whom we all know leads a very unhealthy lifestyle had a metabolic age 14 years OLDER than his actual age.  When this happens, it generally indicates poor health and fitness concerns.  The nurse who was conducting the health checks told him to make an appointment to see his doctor ASAP as his blood pressure was also dangerously high! Bit of a wake up call there!

All these checks are obviously just a basic indication of overall health – if anything untoward was flagged, people were advised to visit their doctor for a proper physical health check.

Apart from all this being pretty positive on the health front for me, it’s also good news because I had been concerned that when I set myself my budget of ยฃ25 per week on groceries, I would end up not being able to eat properly and that my health could suffer. It turns out this isn’t the case – I probably pay more attention to what I’m buying and eating to ensure my money goes further in the supermarket.

Some people also thought that with me brewing my own beer, I might end up drinking more but fortunately, this hasn’t been the case either although it has reduced my grocery bill somewhat as I no longer include alcohol in my weekly shop.

So my current plan appears to be working, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement as I’m finding I have to work harder to maintain my health and fitness as I get older (and I’ll be another year older next month!), just as I have to continue to work at saving / investing smarter and continue to keep my costs down to stay on top of my financial goals.

Keeping My Mind Active

Hot on the heels of this mini health check, the company organised a quiz night for us to exercise our brains! Sadly, my brain wasn’t as up to scratch on trivia and we couldn’t answer questions such as what was Elvis Presley’s best selling song, which was the 21st century’s best selling single in the UK and what is the name of the largest tectonic plate? Yes, it’s all very well Googling the answers now but no phones were allowed at the quiz table, so we had to rely on good old brain/memory power!

We came 4th (out of 7) but the main thing was that we beat the boss’ team, although as you can imagine, we didn’t rub it in too much!

Hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend!

18 thoughts on “Health Stuff

  1. A healthy body and a healthy mind are the best things in life, well apart from being financially free. My BMI is very similar to yours and my blood pressure is low normal too. I eat far too much sugar though and do not exercise enough. Hopefully this will change when my little baby arrives.

  2. Hi Laura
    I don't have a real sweet tooth so cutting down on sugar is fairly easy for me. However, I'm a sucker for salty snacks, eg crisps! When is your baby due?

  3. Hi Mr and Mrs Geek
    Love the name, especially as my friends have been known to call me 'geek' or 'nerd'! Just seen that you have a blog so I will stop by for a read and to say hello – thank you for stopping by and good luck with your FI journey!

  4. Well weenie, you put me to shame but congratulations on an excellent "health score" results.

    We have a strong tendency towards high blood pressure in my family and I have been on medication for this since my early forties. My weight, exercise levels and diet are all pretty good though. I'm like you and would much prefer a bag of crisps to a bar of chocolate but I do indulge in a fair amount of wine at the weekends. ๐Ÿ™‚

    It sounds like you're doing everything right to keep yourself in tip top condition and you exercised your mind recently with your Rubik's Cube challenge so I'm sure you are a shining example of "mens sana in corpore sano". ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Hi Weenie, I only discovered your blog a few weeks ago, and I have to say I love it! I am a married, late 30's mum to 2 kids and 2 fur babies (cat and puppy) and we are trying, after many years on one income, and 2 years part time work for me that has been going towards fixing all the stuff we couldn't afford to fix/replace on one income, to save more and get on track with our financial goals. I am finding your blog so helpful. Physical health is equally as important as financial health as we get older (if not more so, by a whisker!) which is why we have been simplifying our schedules and trying to only focus on things that are important. There have been a few things that we really enjoy that we have had to let go recently as we have just been finding them too much, and not being on the important list, they needed to be the first to go. Hope that sentence makes sense…I have tonsillitis! Also trying to make healthy food and exercise a priority, but it's winter down here in NZ and I've been sick for the last 2 weeks so not much exercise going on. The perks of working with kids! So anyway, thank you for your inspiration, I look forward to reading more and learning along side you ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Hi Cerridwen, thanks. On a 'normal weekend' ie one spent at home, I don't have so much alcohol. However, once a month, I probably make up for it all in one go, which probably isn't the best idea health-wise!

    You know what – I picked up the Rubik's Cube the other day having not really touched it since I 'solved' it and found that I struggled to complete it – my brain has already started to forget! So I need to ensure that I do it periodically to keep the brain active!

    "mens sana in corpore sano" – getting pretty forgetful these days, so need to work harder on the mind I think haha!

  7. Hi Clare
    Thanks for reading and thanks for stopping by.Wow, thanks for your kind words and I'm glad I've been able to help a little on the inspiration front. If you have your own blog, I would love to read more about your journey – I just have me to look after, you have kids and pets so I can't even imagine how tough that must be! Hope you are feeling better and you are over your tonsillitis!

  8. I do have to admit that the kids and pets are the main sources of budget blow-outs ๐Ÿ™‚ There are many days I lament the fact that we weren't so interested in our finances when we were young and fancy free! But, to be fair, I'm also glad we had so many nice dinner and a movie nights because we don't get them now! Unless there are singing animals and pizza is the dinner ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I am hoping that, in spite of the kids and pets and their various unexpected expenses, that with a little more planning, tracking and strictness, we can get on top of the savings. I do have a blog, but it's been a little quiet over there lately! It was originally set up as a place to document my development as a (moderate) minimalist, but also branched out into food waste reduction and reducing my grocery spend (still a work in progress!). I am planning on getting back to it soon, so we'll see what direction it goes in!
    I'm at http://doingitsimply.blogspot.co.nz/ And antibiotics are wonderful things in regards to my tonsillitis ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Hi Weenie,
    great points you make! As you noted, we FIRE folks seem to strive for the "complete package".

    Be careful though with too strict of a budget for food, it is the single most important item for a good health (followed by an active lifestyle). Being smart with spending on food is a good thing, but I personally would never skimp on healthy food based on the price.

  10. Hi Clare
    I too wish I had been smarter about my finances when I was younger but better late than never! Planning and tracking really works – before I started, I was just drifting along – now I have a plan and focus and a helpful blogging community to support me!

    Just checked out your blog and hope you will resurrect it. I'm with you on the bread maker though – I haven't bought a single loaf since my sister got me one as a gift! Thanks again for stopping by!

  11. Hi Mr FSF
    I haven't skimped on healthy food, I think it's more likely that I've cut out the more unhealthy food as otherwise I'd go over my budget! More fruit and vegetables and planning my meals (most of which I make from scratch) has really helped and keeps me on track with my budget and leading a more healthy lifestyle!
    Thanks for stopping by!

  12. This blog post simply reminds me that without health we really have nothing. It's great to save, it's great to invest and grow our passive income but the reality is that nothing is guaranteed and taking care of ourselves should really be job one. Thanks for sharing your personal health stats with us. Keep active mentally and physically, eat well and stay healthy.

  13. Hi DH, thanks for stopping by.

    Yes, taking care of ourselves should be the main job, especially as we get older. When I was student at university, I didn't eat well and drank a lot. The only good thing I did was exercise but I was fine and able to get away with it as I was young. Not so these days! It's takes a little more work but when it's part of routine, it's not so difficult to maintain a relatively healthy lifestyle.

  14. I think physical health and financial go hand in hand for many of us that is definitely true!
    Why concentrate on becoming financially free only to not be able to do much when you get there because your body is knackered?

    I scored a BMI of 20.3 so in the green zone which is good! I always thought I would be nearer to the underweight category but have put on a few pounds recently (hopefully of muscle mass!) which has taken me safely into the green zone.

    Cheers!

  15. Hi TFS, that's a very good BMI you got there – I don't think any of the guys at work were in the green zone (although they were over rather than underweight!), aside from the young interns!

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