Editor’s Note: It’s New Year’s Eve, and in “Pledge Week 2016” we’re featuring the best resolution ideas for living richer in 2016. Yesterday, Mark discussed the importance of surrounding yourself with a positive network and great influences…
Today, we’re making a physical commitment to adopting healthier habits. Wealth building is a long-term game. If you can manage to stay healthy—physically, mentally, and emotionally—your journey will be all the more enjoyable. Mark has some tips to that end…
From Mark Ford, founder, Palm Beach Research Group: Staying healthy should be a priority in your life… even if it isn’t your uppermost concern.
To accomplish your other goals (like getting a little wealthier every day), you need a working body and an energetic mind.
You must be able to get up early—the earlier the better—and work with vigor and intelligence throughout the day.
You have to be able to enjoy yourself… have fun… spread some cheer in dreary places… build a life… and cultivate a business.
You need a very well-running machine of a body to do all that.
If you have any doubts about the importance of health, you’ll change your mind the first time you get seriously ill.
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Since it first occurred to me health is a “sine qua non” (something that’s absolutely necessary) in life, I’ve made it one of my four top priorities. I urge you to do the same.
Just the other day, I asked you to come up with a list of specific objectives that would allow you to meet a New Year’s pledge to get healthy.
My big health goal was to “become younger” last year.
I intended to do that by achieving “younger” capabilities in each physical attribute I associate with health:
I set specific objectives in each of these areas. I committed, for example, to lift weights five times per week… to do something cardiovascular at least three times per week… to stretch every day… and so on.
And I did pretty well. Notwithstanding numerous interruptions, emergencies, and my never-ending travel schedule, I worked on these objectives most days.
The end-of-year result: I’m stronger and more flexible than before. My endurance is a tad better, too.
Appearance? Happily, I’ve been programmed to get better looking every year…
Which Palm Beach Research Group team member is pledging today?
How did you do last year? Are you thinner? Stronger? More flexible? Can you admire yourself endlessly in front of the mirror?
In thinking about (and reading about and talking about) health over the past few years, I’ve gradually come to several big new revelations:
- You don’t need nearly as much strength as most health magazines would have you believe. You need only enough to do what you do efficiently. Most people can achieve all their strength goals with an hour of training per week.
- Flexibility becomes more important as you age. It makes it easier for you to do “young” things and less likely for you to be injured. Anyone over 30 should make stretching an important part of his or her health regimen.
- You don’t need to run a six-minute mile to be healthy. As with weight training, there’s little to no scientific evidence supporting the idea you have to be trained like an athlete. To build stamina, walking is as good as running.
- There’s more to health than strength, flexibility, stamina, and appearance. Mental and emotional energy are critical. And the most important thing is immunity—freedom from illness.
|“In 2016, I pledge to ride 4,500 miles.”
—Retirement Insider Editor Bob Irish
This year, my goals are going to incorporate this new thinking.
I’m going to run and weight train less often—and less hard. I’ll continue with a good diet for energy (stressing smaller, low-starch meals heavy in fish and fresh vegetables), take plenty of good nutritional supplements, and get regular medical checkups.
I’m also going to take care of myself when at risk: ice sore muscles, rest when tired, stay home when sick, and see a doctor when I need to.
You can do the same. And you can do it without spending a crazy amount of time.
My best guess is you can achieve better health by devoting about four hours per week to it.
Here’s how to get healthy efficiently:
- Reduce your weight training to an hour per week. You can train only once per week (covering the full body) or every day (one body part per day). For maximum efficiency, do only ONE SET per muscle group (back, chest, thighs, calves, biceps, triceps, and shoulders).
The trick to making one set work is to work until exhaustion… and then do a few more reps. It’s hard to do. But it really reduces your time commitment.
- Stretch twice per day for five minutes each time. Stretch gently. But make sure you make progress as the days go by. I’m not exactly sure how you can measure your progress—I’ve had some trouble figuring this out myself. But if you keep at it, you’ll notice changes.
- If you’re running like crazy, slow down. If you aren’t running at all, start. (When I say “running,” I’m speaking of doing any sort of cardiovascular workout.)
My big new idea about running is you should train yourself only to the point of being able to accomplish your normal life’s needs—such as climbing a flight of stairs without getting winded. You don’t have to get yourself ready for competition. (If you haven’t been drafted by now, you won’t be.)
- Do a little sprinting. Unlike running, this is to get those fast-twitch muscles, nerves, and fibers working again. Five minutes twice per week is plenty.
- If you’re over 40 and haven’t been to the doctor in a while, get a good checkup. Get your blood work done. Have your doctor check your insulin levels, your hormone levels, your cholesterol levels, and so on.
- Eat well.
Spend at least a half-hour per day (on average) playing.
For me, play is jiujitsu. For you, it may be taking a walk, meditating, or maybe playing golf or tennis.
Your task for today is to make a very serious commitment to getting healthier this year.
Identify the key areas of health you want to focus on—and set yearly goals.
To achieve those goals, establish a weekly exercise routine—something that incorporates the big new ideas above… a sensible diet… and a commitment to treat your health as the fragile blessing it is.
Reeves’ Note: To live a fulfilling life, you must work on the core of “living rich”: emotional, physical, and mental well-being. These aren’t freedoms only the rich enjoy. Mark shares all his tips for living like a millionaire—on a middle-class budget—in his Living Rich series. It’s one important component of the Wealth Builders Club… a full-spectrum wealth-building program designed to help you replicate Mark’s eight-figure net worth.
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