My Physical Health

Key Concept

In our youth our body was made of steel, we recovered from injury quickly, a hangover lasted an hour or two, when we fell we bounced and despite ourselves, things worked pretty well considering the abuse we inflicted upon ourselves. As we aged, things started to slow down and we started to pay for our earlier indiscretions. Now as we enter our 60s and 70s our body needs a little TLC.


To do the things you want to do in retirement and old age, you need to ensure that the meat-suit you are wearing works as well as possible. This module offers an exercise plan that keeps you physically fit (without turning it into a Boot Camp.) And, you are what you eat – although when we were young it didn’t seem to matter. As we get older it’s important that we eat a well balanced diet.

My Physical Health 

Complete the My Physical Health Worksheet. This is a useful tracking sheet – you can record your current levels and track your progress over time. For some of the information you need to go for a “check-up”. The shaded boxes indicate desirable ranges – where your figures are outside the range, you need to create a plan of action to get them within range. You may want to improve your fitness levels, so again, you need a plan of action.

Our high, bad-fat diet at 40 is going to come back and bite us at 60. Our coach-potato, television watching weekends at 50 are going to translate into poor mobility at 65. Our high stress, lack of sleep careers are great preparation for that heart attack at 55. So starting now is a good time to get some physical activity, eat properly, lose some weight and get a good night’s sleep.

Do some physical activity

In a sport obsessed culture it is easy to get caught up in being competitive and pushing yourself to the point of breakdown. All the research suggests that it is essential to be physically active – but not to get caught up in exercise, exercise, exercise! So be active and be gentle.

  • 5 – 6 days a week – walk, run, swim, ride, do weights, go to gym
  • Walk up and down stairs, walk rather than drive, garden, stretch
  • Join a health club, do yoga, tai chi, dance
  • Get good walking shoes – and use them!
  • Get 7 hours sleep a night

Join a Health Club

If you’ve not been following a fitness plan for a while, get a check-up from your Doctor and join a Health Club with personal trainers / biokineticists. And take it easy!

Have annual check-ups

Most of the time your body will tell you how things are going – but a little help from technology is important. So go for at least these tests.

  • PSA / blood pressure / cholesterol / fat ratios / blood sugar / bone density / colonoscopy
  • Weight / body mass index
  • Testosterone levels
  • Go for regular Eye and Ear tests
  • Go to the Dentist regularly – sore teeth make eating difficult and your health will suffer.

 Get a good night’s sleep

Look at how you are sleeping – poor sleeping patterns are indicative of other things that are not right in your life – stress, addictions, poor physical condition. Russel Foster makes a strong case for getting proper sleep.

The Sparkpeople Fitness Programme

This programme is an excellent programme for checking on how you are doing. There are 6 exercises that relate to our typical daily activities – and this gives you a guideline for your age. Click here to see how you do.

Eat properly

Diets fail. So don’t diet, but become more conscious of what you are putting in your mouth and how much! Don’t give stuff up – just eat other stuff instead. Put away that special dinner service and buy a set of smaller plates. That way,  a full plate doesn’t mean a full you. It takes 20 mins for your brain to register that you are full – so stop eating when you’d like seconds and wait. If you are still hungry after 20 mins – go ahead.

  • Go vegetarian – or reduce red meat and animal products
  • Drink lots of water and fruit juices
  • Cut out junk food, sweets and sugar
  • Eat more fruit, vegetables, salads, bran, whole grains
  • Read labels – watch for E chemicals, preservatives, added salt and sugar
  • Use vitamin supplements
  • Cut out white sugar, flour and rice and go for brown, unpolished
  • If you haven't already – stop smoking and be aware of secondhand smoke.

Watch your Lifestyle Vital Ailment Chart

Your physical health is more than an exercise plan and nutritional plan – it is a lifestyle choice! The Vital Health Foods Ailment Chart is an excellent tool for keeping that lifestyle on track.


Your use of alcohol

Short Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test

  1. When talking with others, do you ever underestimate how much you drink?
  2. After a few drinks, have you sometimes not eaten or have you been able to skip a meal because you didn't feel hungry?
  3. Does having a few drinks make it difficult to get your words out when talking to others?
  4. Does alcohol sometimes make it hard for you to remember parts of the day or night?
  5. Do you usually take a drink to relax or calm your nerves?
  6. Do you drink to take your mind off your problems?
  7. Have you ever increased your drinking after experiencing a loss in your life?
  8. Has a doctor ever said they were worried or concerned about your drinking?
  9. Have you ever made rules to manage your drinking?
  10. When you feel lonely, does having a drink help?


This is what I'd like to do

Don't beat yourself up -  do what you want to do, don't make your life a misery of discipline. What gentle physical activity will you do? When will you have those tests? What will you be eating / not eating? Are there supplements you could be taking? (A word of caution – even the most benign supplements can have a negative effect on some people – so check with your Doctor.)

And to confound all the Gurus out there – look at what it takes to live to 100+



Discussion Assignment – My Physical Health

What concerns do you have about your physical state as you head into retirement?

Discussion Forum

Next module : My Mental Health

How do we keep the grey-matter working? Alzheimer’s lurks at the back of every elderly person’s mind – and like so many old-age conditions its likelihood can be reduced by the lifestyle choices we make.

Next Module