The Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, may not be all that affordable for some of us.
Whether you agree with the law or not, the fact is you have to pay for some type of health insurance or pay a fine if you fail to purchase health insurance as of January 1, 2014.
If you roll the dice and decide to not pay for insurance and go for the fine, then if something happens, something that lands you in the hospital, then, theoretically, you might be able to apply for and get health insurance after the fact under the provision preventing exclusion by a pre-exisiting condition although this seems like a huge loophole that someone, somewhere is going to plug.
But what is one thing you can start working on now that could save you tens of thousands of dollars in your “golden” years – and personally, I would rather those years be “titanium” – gold is too soft 🙂 ?
The cost of health care for people of 70+ years of age is 5.5 times higher than the cost for people 25-35 years of age and a leading reason for the higher costs are injuries and associated problems from falls.
I know. You’re probably thinking this doesn’t affect you since you’re maybe 40 or 50 years of age and you have the balance of a Cirque de Soleil performer but it does affect you.
Loss of balance and strength sneaks up on you. You don’t realize just how much you’ve lost until you really need it and it’s not there.
Here’s an example.
Have you ever tripped over something on the floor and stumbled? You probably caught yourself which is good balance in action.
But I’ll bet there have been times when you almost didn’t catch yourself in that instance there was a fleeting “Oh my God I’m going to fall” feeling.
Or, maybe you were climbing down one of those rickety drop down stairs out of an attic and felt as if any second you could fall head over heels.
Or, maybe, as one of my former clients complained, someone bumped into you really hard and sent you stumbling, flailing, grabbing at the air only to be rescued at the last second by a handy handrail.
Whatever the instance, having dependable balance will save you a ton of money later in life.
Most people think of balance as the ability to stand on one leg – like the famous pose in Karate Kid.
And that’s true.
But balance is also the ability to recover from a sudden change in your position or the ability to move easily and gracefully from one position to another (agility is the combination of speed and coordination with balance).
A few examples –
To improve anything, you have to have an idea of what “normal” is or what’s expected. You need a benchmark.
As far as balance is concerned, the gold standard test is the Single Limb Stance test. To perform the test, do the following:
Generally, the younger your age, the longer you should be able to hold the position. To get the specific results for you, you can take our ActiveAge® Balance Assessment for free.
But the static test is only one test (it happens to be the only one with age and gender stratification). Another more difficult test is this one:
Once you have an idea of your balance status, physical training that challenges you and requires you to use your body in natural but increasing difficult movement patterns is the best way to improve your overall reaction time and reduce your risk of falls and fall-related injuries. Exercising on machines – the kind you see in a gym where you’re seated mostly – does little to help you improve balance or reaction times (Yoga and Tai-Chi are also good options to add to your training regimen).
I don’t know about you but if I can spend 30-40 minutes a few days per week and reduce the chances of forking over a big wad of Ben Franklins to hospitals when I’m 70, hey, that’s a no-brainer for me.
What about you? What are you doing to work on your balance?
Is it just eating right and working out? Do you have to do a lot of “cardio”? Eat a low fat diet? Obsess over calories? Lift heavy weights in a boring gym? Pray you don’t get hurt doing exercises that 20 year olds can barely do?
The key to optimizing your health is gaining a new set of physical and mental skills. You have to know what to eat and how to exercise safely and efficiently.
You can’t afford to just roll the dice with your body as you age.
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