Health Plan for 2019 – Retire healthy and early

Categories Retirement
Health plan for 2019

Neither Mrs. The Poor Swiss nor me are in bad health. We are very lucky in that matter. However, being a computer scientist and not going out a lot is not a good long-term prospect for my health. These last few years, I have felt that my health decreased. I am not as much in shape as I was 10 years ago. And my back has been painful a few times recently.

Even though we do not have big problems, health is really important. These days, we focus too much on our finances. I want to retire early and I also want to retire healthy! For this, it is important to try to work on our health as we are working on our finances.

In this post, I am going to discuss the things we want to do in order to improve our health in 2019. Do not expect any fancy cure that will solve all health issues. There is no such thing. We focused on simple things for 2019 to ensure that we stay in good health.

Medical Check-up

Medical Doctor checkup
Medical Doctor checkup

Our new health insurance policies for 2019 covers a full medical checkup every three years. We plan to take advantage of that in 2019. Although I am a doctor, I am not the kind of doctor we need for this! In fact, I never did a full medical checkup. But Mrs. The Poor Swiss did one in China. The main reason I never did a medical checkup is that they are very expensive in Switzerland not covered by most insurances.

Since it is covered by our insurance, I think it is a great thing to do. This will make sure we are discovering any possible issues long enough in advance and not too late. And since I never did one, I think it is good now that I am past thirty to do a full checkup. We will see how that goes. But that cannot be a bad thing to do especially if our insurance covers it. We are going to try to take full advantage of our new insurance in 2019. I figure that since we pay a lot, we may as well get as much as possible from it.

Start sport again

I should start the gym again
I should start the gym again

For now, this year, we have not done any sport. Last year, we stopped going to the gym. It was not working well with my new working hours. Since I spend all my days sitting at a desk in front of a computer, it is not very healthy in the long-term. Since Mrs. The Poor Swiss is also not doing any sport and staying at home all day, it would be good for her to start sports again.

I am going to start going to the gym again. But I have not yet decided to which one I want to go. Ideally, I will go early morning or maybe before lunch. So I need one that is open very early in the morning. Ideally, I also want one that is either on my way to work or close to work. And of course, I would like one gym that is not too expensive. My insurance will give me 200 CHF for my gym fees. But that will only cover a small part of the insurance!

The current idea now for Mrs. The Poor Swiss is to start dancing again. In China, she was doing several dance lessons each week. She was also pole dancing. Dancing is very good to keep in shape and health. We need to find a studio where they offer dance lessons. For now, we have not found one that is really satisfactory. The offer is more limited than I thought around here. We will keep looking.

The idea is for both of us to start sports again in March.

Standing desk

These last few weeks, I have been experiencing some back pain. And these last few years, I feel that my back is lacking in strength. Starting again some sport will help with that. But I feel it is not enough. I think that my problem is that I sit almost all day. When I am at work, I sit in front of my computer. And when I am at home, I sit a lot as well to play my computer and to read. This is especially true in the winter.

One of the solutions I want to try to improve my back is to use a standing desk at home. This would force me to stand longer. Currently, my back and my legs start to hurt if I stand still for too long. I have no problem with walking for a long time, but standing is becoming an issue. I will try to find a not too expensive adjustable standing desk. Then, I will try to force myself to stand increasing amounts of time every day. I am not sure this will fix my issues. But I do not think there are drawbacks to use a standing desk, especially an adjustable one.

Go outside more often

A nice mountain in my region of Switzerland
A nice mountain in my region of Switzerland

This summer, we went on quite a few hikes, especially in the first months after Mrs. The Poor Swiss arrival in Switzerland. However, I feel like we could have gone more outside. With nice days, we should do at least one hike outside per week. I think it is a reasonable minimum.

Now that we are in winter, we do not really go hiking. It is a bit cold, especially for Mrs. The Poor Swiss. And it is not that great to walk on dirty snow. However, once we come back from China, we plan to start skiing. That will definitely help to get some fresh air.

Not only should we go hiking and skiing outside, but only spending time outside is great. In the summer, I often read outside. My problem is that it is a pain to use a laptop in the sun. I may have to find a solution for that where I can use a computer outside. At least, I will try to force myself to read outside more.

Lose some weight again

Since Mrs. The Poor Swiss joined me in Switzerland, we both put on some weight. Personally, I put on almost five kilograms (10 pounds). Neither of us is overweight at all, but it is still not perfect. We both would like to go back to our previous weights.

We eat healthy foods and we do not eat junk foods. However, we eat a bit too much I think. Especially, we have too much grain foods in our diet. And we should eat a bit more vegetables. Looking at the previous things planned to improve our health, they should also help us losing some weight and getting back down.

Conclusion

As you can from my little list, there is no miracle thing to improve our health. We are going to focus on sport and being less lazy for next year. We are also going to make a full medical check-up in order to make sure there is nothing wrong with us. I think it is always good to be proactive with health. It is better to discover things early rather than late. It is always more easy to treat something when it is discovered early.

As I said in the Introduction, we are not in bad health. We just want to make sure we are staying in good shape in the next few years. And given my very sedentary life, it is better I do not delay these things too much. I want to retire early and healthy! There is not one without the others!

What do you think of our plan? Do you plan to work on your health?

10 thoughts on “Health Plan for 2019 – Retire healthy and early”

  1. Hi the Poor Swiss,

    Thanks, super interesting post! On a topic whose importance is underrated in the FIRE community. What’s the point of retiring early if you die of a heart attack or pancreatic cancer at 50?

    I’d like to add a few other “tips”:

    – Medical check up should include a blood test: blood cell count, iron level, lipids… make sure the cholesterol numbers are in the right brackets.

    – Diet is key: whole food, plant based diet: low animal fat and protein, high in good quality complex carbs such as lentils, beans etc. Abundance of vegetables and fruits, and nuts.

    – You can buy glucose reader even though not diabetic. So that you can monitor your sugar level regularly. High blood glucose accelerates aging.

    – Health include low stress: meditation can help.

    – Sleep is crucial too… We tend to sleep to little. Practicing going to bed early helps.

    Anyway, thanks for the post and the blog in general!

    1. Hi Jean-Pierre,

      I agree that it’s probably underrated. I’m no better than most of them currently since I am just starting in trying to improve that. There are some finance bloggers who blog actively about gym though, but it’s true that it’s not very common altogether.

      Blood test is scheduled. Glucose reader sounds interesting. I would think that my glucose level is probably more on the low side. But I do not want to fall in the other extreme and check my health too much.
      I do not have that much stress. On the other hand, I cannot bear to not do anything. I don’t think I will ever stand meditation. Reading is my meditation :)

      I completely agree with you about sleep! I am trying to go to bed at regular times and sleep longer than I used to. I am trying to force my wife to sleep early rather than late in the morning, but it seems impossible.

      Thanks for the tips!

  2. Make sure you stay healthy until just BEFORE you die. There is no point to invest in being and satying healthy years long and die healthy. Unless you live forever but for that thing I do not have a strategy yet.

    1. Hi baseldon,

      I’m not sure I understand what you mean ?!? Since you do not know when you are going to die, isn’t it better to always try to stay healthy? (Within the limits of reasonable, it’s also important to live happy).

  3. *note to self
    Standing desk – check
    Start sport again – check
    More outside – in progress
    Loose weight – not needed
    Health check – find out if this is covered by insurance (don’t think so)

    I think it’s really wise to have a health plan in place. It is the most valuable (and perhaps also most underappreciated) asset we have. No money in the world is going to buy you back your health once seriously damaged, Keep up the good work and good luck!

    1. Wow, you’re better than me on most counts!

      Only a few insurances cover health check, at least in Switzerland. I can do one health check every three years with my new insurance and I intend to to take full advantage of this!

      I completely agree with you, it’s a very valuable asset!

      Thanks for stopping by :)

  4. Playing sports is so important in our current lifestyle of sitting too much. Daily exercise such as walking (or standing) already helps. Adding in 3 days a week with more rigorous exercise such as running, weightlifting, swimming, martial arts does incredible things to your body and keeps it moving.

    Be sure to watch your diet too. Enjoying food and drinks is nice, but a belly is lost in the kitchen, not the gym.

    1. Hi B,

      Yes, sports are really important. I just wish I could enjoy them. Except for ski and hiking, I didn’t find any sport I really enjoy. But that may come.
      I plan to start the Gym next month probably. That’s next week already, wow…

      I think my diet is under control. Probably too much meat, but at least I never eat between meals which helps a lot.

      Thanks for stopping by B!

  5. Hi again,

    “Health” is also never discussed in the debates on health insurance in Switzerland. The reality is that if health insurance is so expensive, it is because we are too sick. We suffer from chronic diseases which are very costly. And they are preventable and mostly curable with lifestyle changes: just exercise more and eat more plants and less garbage. That’s it. If everyone would follow those 2 simple recommendations the health insurance bill would be cut in half in the coming decades (Ok I just made this figure up but I would not be surprised if that would be close to the truth).

    https://www.obsan.admin.ch/sites/default/files/publications/2015/rapportsante_2015_f_0.pdf

    => 80% of direct cost in health care are due to chronic, non transmissible diseases. Those that are preventable with exercise and diet… We have a duty to health, not a right to health care.

    1. Hi Jean-Pierre,

      That is a good point indeed. I did not know that so much of these costs were because of chronic diseases. I still feel that some costs are also due to people going too much to the doctor for benign things.
      I do agree that we could cut health costs a lot in the coming years. But most people do not care enough about that.
      That is a very interesting debate!

      Thanks for stopping by :)

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