- A hectic busy 40hr+ working week
- Kids that need shuttling to and from school, sports, music lessons, etc
- Endless Zoom calls
- No time to relax
… and a gradually decreasing metabolism for you.
When we were young
Remember when you were young with no kids, and time to keep yourself healthy and active? Long weekend walks. Three trips to the gym every week. Playing organized sports with friends. Cooking your way through gourmet recipes.
Then life happens. Children. Promotions at work that lead to more responsibility and longer hours. And, of course, lockdowns.
You’ve probably found that your free time as a couple has diminished. Team football or Zumba night turns into box sets on the sofa for a few hours before bed. Weekend bike trips or spontaneous nights out turn into taxi runs to and from kids’ activities. Gourmet cookbooks make way for tried and trusted recipes everyone will eat and you can cook in your sleep.
Then there’s the money crunch. Even couples with a financial plan in place tend to worry more about money once a mortgage, car payments, and children enter the picture. Many couples start pinching pennies at the expense of their creature comforts and well-being. New clothes and a replacement for that worn-out mattress aren’t as important as saving for extra tuition or your future retirement.
Don’t neglect your health
The risks involved when we start neglecting our health are real, and harder to correct as we continue to age. There are emotional consequences as well, especially if one spouse slips out of shape faster than the other. Innocuous suggestions such as “How about we re-start our gym membership?” can feel laced with criticism.
For many, lockdown has compounded the impact, resulting in a loss of confidence, feelings of depression, and an addiction to wearing informal clothing that’s comfortable as nobody sees you on Zoom below the waist…
Money – already the most common source of marital friction – will continue to be a barrier to self-improvement. Unhealthy people don’t like being told they’re unhealthy, and will often put off preventative care. Equally, a hard-pressed NHS makes accessing health tests and checks more difficult than it used to be, with many put off by increasingly long waits.
Take action now
If you or your spouse are struggling with a similar scenario, take a moment as a couple to work through the following questions and suggestions together.
- Are you able to maintain your health without any financial stress?
- Is your level of physical activity higher or lower now than it used to be?
- If you’re about to retire, do you anticipate a more or less active lifestyle?
- What are some physical recreational activities that you both enjoy?
- What is a recreational activity you’ve never tried, but deep down always wanted to try?
Steps to Take
- Get up and get out there! Admitting that you need to get moving is the first step! Remember the early stages of lockdown when we were all so grateful for that one’ hour’s walk just to get out of the house? Rediscovering the joys of walking again can kickstart interest in your overall health.
- Hate going to the gym? Again, lockdown has proved you don’t need to go to improve your fitness levels! Instead, incorporate some daily exercise into your routine. How about a bike ride through your neighbourhood or a local park every morning? Carve a few hours out of your schedule for a weekly round of golf or tennis lessons. Outside exercise ticks the ‘fresh air’ box of preventing COVID spread.
- Stand and deliver. Take small breaks during the day to stand, get away from your computer, stretch, and focus your eyes on distant objects. Invest in a standing desk to burn extra calories whilst still working.
- Sleep on it. A good night’s sleep is important for your continuing health, both physical and menta. The cost of a new mattress you’ll sleep on for the next ten years will be a lot less than the cost of trips to the chiropractor and/or your local GP.
- You are what you eat! Planning out a week’s worth of healthy, fresh meals will help you steer away from those post-work takeaways. If you’re working from home, a planned recipe and ingredients in the fridge also helps you shut down the laptop, and switch into home mode.
A better, healthier transition into retirement
The better you and your spouse feel individually, the better you’re going to feel together. An interest in improving your health can lead to new activities and interests that you’ll enjoy pursuing together well into your retirement years. After all, when you finish working and the kids are out of the house, you’ll find yourself enjoying a whole new routine.
Sports and active recreation are great places to start, both to keep you moving every day and as inspiration to see more of the world (once we’re able to do so). Today’s daily walk around the local area might lead to a hiking trip in the Alps one day that neither of you will ever forget.
How to Retire With Purpose
If you’re concerned that you can’t afford a healthier lifestyle in retirement, why not try our Retire With Purpose introductory programme? Our straightforward, no-nonsense workshop will help you review your budget, analyse your long-term retirement goals, and help you discover how to get the best life possible with the money you have. Register and we’ll send you our autumn programme dates.