Tag Archives: Exercise

The Compounding Years

Three middle-aged investors.

Three middle-aged investors. Silver Falls Trail Runs, Nov. 2014

I drive a lot, and lately I’ve been listening to Suze Orman Podcasts while I’m on the road. Suze often refers to one’s twenties and early thirties as “the compounding years,” because money saved in retirement accounts during these years will yield highly compounded dividends by the age of retirement.

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a financial post. The term “compounding years” got me thinking about a different kind of equity we build in adulthood as a way to invest in our retirement future. Or at least the fact that we should be thinking of it in this way.

That is, our health equity.

In our twenties and early thirties, we work out and stay active maybe just as a way to look great, or beat personal bests, win sporting contests, or just to have fun. And while these may very well be reasons we work out in our late thirties and forties, it takes on a much greater weight (no pun intended).

If we choose a sedentary or minimally active lifestyle while we’re young we may not be building muscle, but we’re not actively losing it either. And metabolism in your younger years usually hums along at a steady enough pace regardless. We are young and strong, with energy to carry us through even the most intense days. But that all changes when we hit our mid-thirties; muscle starts to waste, metabolism slows, and we begin to lose bone mass. Incrementally at first, then at an accelerating rate, until our bodies ultimately fail and we die. Such is life.

The only way to slow the wasting and immobility that comes with age is to stay active.

So while we may work out and be active in our thirties and forties as a way to look great, beat personal bests, win sporting contests, or just to have fun, we should also be thinking of these as our “compounding years” for health. The more healthy activity we can incorporate into our daily life in our mid-life, the more strength and vitality we will carry with us through our retirement years.

And the good news is, just like it’s never too late to start investing money for retirement, it’s also never too late to start investing in your health.

Happy investing.

Diabetes….Run With It!

I’ve had such fun running with my kids this spring!

Will and Luke both surprised and humbled me by finishing a 5K fun run with me a few weeks ago, the longest distance either of them has run before outside of soccer practice. They enjoyed the attention they got by being the two youngest runners, and I was insanely proud of them!

I knew beforehand that Will could run the distance, but I wasn’t sure about Luke. In fact, I hadn’t even planned to have him run, but he stepped up for his bib number without a second thought. I tucked the business parts of his blood sugar meter into his SPIbelt (which is how he wears his insulin pump), along with some glucose gel and meter strips, and we took off! 

Both boys ran about a mile before we had to slow to a walk for a bit. We all stopped again after the second mile for a quick blood sugar check (a little elevated but not worrisome), but Will took off on his own after that. Luke started to struggle a little in the third mile, but always managed to turn on the heat when someone was cheering him on or there was a photographer taking his picture!

Will finished his run in just over 30 minutes; Luke and I crossed the finish line after about 45 minutes. We checked his blood sugar one more time and then bolused for his post-run snack. There’s always a worry during exercise that Luke’s body will chew through his blood glucose too fast and he’ll have a low. Having the tools with us to check for and treat a low blood sugar is non-negotiable!

It was not only amazing to see my two small boys run a distance race, but to witness the pride and accomplishment that they felt within themselves at the finish line! And as icing on the cake, they won 1st and 2nd place in their age group (which I’m pretty sure was created on the spot).

It’s so important to me that all three of my kids feel confidence in their physicality, whether they happen to have diabetes (Evie and Luke) or they don’t (Will). Running a distance race was a perfect way for them to safely feel what it’s like to push themselves towards a physical goal, and to learn that they can do more than they can imagine! This is a lesson that I learned late in life, and it pleases me to no end to see them learning how to enjoy being active now, when it can become a lifelong habit.