Hello, I’m Dr. Ryan Seifert, a physical therapist, and today I’d like to talk about retirement accounts.
You might be asking yourself… why is a physical therapist talking about retirement accounts? Well, we’re going to discuss the idea of saving for retirement. However not only do we want you to have enough money for retirement but we want you to be able to enjoy that money as well. Our goal here in Natural Fit Therapy is to help people stay healthy, active, and independent. Live the life that you want to live. We want you to be able to enjoy your retirement years as actively as you would like to be. One especially important aspect to staying active as you age is maintaining your muscle strength.
You are Investing the money for retirement, right?
Many people are familiar with the idea of investing money for retirement. The goal is to have enough money to last through the whole retirement period and have some money left over to give to your family members as an inheritance. In the beginning, you have this nice bank account that is growing, growing, growing. And then once you retire, you spend more money that you make and your funds will start to decline. So as time goes by, you have less and less money in your retirement account. This is a quite common concept and something that people are familiar with.
Why Investing money alone is not enough?
Importance to maintaining strength
I’d like you to start thinking about your physical health and specifically your strength as a retirement account. The graph below is from a research article that measures people’s strengths over time.
Graph N1 – Muscle mass and strength over,
As you age early in life (year 1-25), you typically get stronger and stronger. Most people reach their peak strength around their mid-twenties. But it is a fact that people gradually lose their strength as they age, right?
Two different groups of people were examined in this study to see how quickly their strength decreased. You can see one group declined more rapidly (sedentary lifestyle group) and one group declined at a slower rate (exercise group). As a result, we can say we can control how quickly our strength decreases as we age.
Consider your strength as a retirement account
We have some control over our finances in retirement by monitoring how much we spend. We can also get a part time job or put our money in an investment account that earns money. The same thing applies to your health. Imagine that your strength is like a bank account. Over the course of time, you will be making withdrawals from that account -that’s just a part of life. You may get sick or need surgery at some point, which can be costly withdrawals from that bank account. So, it’s important for us to plan and have enough reserves in the bank account for situations like this.
How to Stay healthy, active, and independent – So, you don’t have to rely on other people in your later life!
Look back at the graph above and you will see an Orange Line. This orange line is from a second study that measured the average strength people have when they need to move into an assisted living facility. When you look at this sedentary lifestyle group, they cross that orange line, around 75 years of age. But if you look at the exercise group, they’re going to pass that line much later in life and there is a high possibility of staying healthy, active and independent their whole life.
So, if you have control over your finances, you also have control over your strength. Of course, there are some things that are beyond our control, like hospitalizations, and illnesses. But as we can see from the above study, you have control by being more active and more specifically performing strength building exercises. Think about exercise and strength training as a way to put deposits into your bank account just like a part time job would add money to your bank account.
How to build your “strength” retirement account:
- Do a lot of good strength training before Retirement;
- Even if you are already retired, it’s never too late! Strength training will still improve your muscle mass and will flatten this line out.
- The American Heart Association Recommends 30 min of exercises 5 times per week with 2-3 of those session focusing on strength building exercises.
- Want some more tips? Please reach out and start implementing a strength training program. We’d be very happy to help.
Again, we are here to help people stay healthy, active, and independent. Hopefully, this gave you a new perspective on how to think about your retirement.