Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fixed Income Living-Exercising Can Help Keep Medical Costs In Line

On Sunday, for the first time in a long time, I walked for a half an hour around my neighborhood.  The weather has been close to 70 here in the northern Texas area.  I've was grateful to take the walk, and had not realized how much I missed it.

Anyone who has known me a long time would be astounded by the last statement.  I abhor "exercise" and "working out". I managed to get through high school and college with minimal PE and no sports activity. Although I've heard that the longer one exercises, the more one enjoys it, it's never happened for me. For a great many years my only exercise was the normal walking done by a person living in an urban village area. I walked to the library (half a mile each way), to the movies and home (about the same) and explored my immediate neighborhoods. I traveled all over Europe and walked on cobbled streets.  I managed to stay in halfway decent shape, although I was overweight and had arthritis.

Then, as often happens, things changed.  Many things, actually. I took an extremely bad fall from a height onto cobblestones. I moved to a place where a car was required for every errand or trip. My arthritis became worse. I ate whatever I wanted during a grief spurt, and had a TIA (my warning bell).  I had never had large medical bills before, or medications other than for the occasional antibiotic. I wanted to improve my health, as well as spend as little as possible of my small income on medical costs.  I was willing to make a conscious effort at regular exercise to reach those goals.

What I've come to realize is that even a little exercise can go a long way for me, and probably for use as well.  Exercise builds bones,  and helps with balance, strength, and flexibility.  Of course it's also good for our hearts.  In my case, it's great for creativity as well.  I walk alone, and it's a change to do some creative thinking alone.  Along with making us healthier, exercise is a :"frugal" choice as well.  Since I've begun exercising, my blood pressure medicine has been cut in half and I hope to eliminate the medication soon.  I still have arthritis pain, but it's manageable, and easier to deal with lately. 

Exercising need not break the bank.  I cannot affored to join a gym.  There are all kinds of alternatives, and if you need the boost of another person to motivate you, invite a friend.  Walking is free (just choose a route that is safe, and even to prevent falls).  In the warm weather Iwalk or swim in my community pool..  A while back, I invested in a "chair aerobics"  CD (before you laugh, its a half hour work out and can kick my you know what).  Your local PBS may have a choice of exercise programs, and if you have cable your "on demand" choices will allow you to work out at any time.

Are you working out now? How do you do it cheaply?


  1. I can't afford a gym membership either. I do strength training, use a recumbent cycle, mini trampoline, jumprope, and other exercises all at home. I'm waiting for the day that I like to exercise because I haven't experienced it yet!

  2. I found a nearby gym that is only $19 a month. It doesn't have a pool or lots of fancy stuff, but the equipment I need.

    In the summer months my wife and I walk at the local mall which opens early for walkers. It is good to have someone else pay for the air conditioning and gives us a chance to talk while we walk.

  3. I have two golden retrievers, one of whom is an athletic four-year-old. I got him in the habit of running every morning. Although a health setback caused me to miss some of those runs over recent months, I have big brown eyes gazing sorrowfully at me from 6:00-7:00 in the morning, when we finally leave for our now-shortened jog. Raining, wind blowing in 60 mile-and-hour gales, skunk scent everywhere: he doesn't care. He's a great motivator. In three seasons, we kayak and mountain bike.

  4. I just found your blog and have really enjoyed reading it. You are so right in doing things for free or for a small investment. I am looking at retirement in a year or so and it really scares me. I need to start walking too. You have really given me something to think about!

  5. My husband and I have had serious medical problems in the past. Cancer for him and I have congestive heart failure. Both than God for His answer to prayer are not much of a problem now. Six years cancer free for my husband and I take heart meds and have gotten stronger and healthier every year since my diagnosis 5 years ago. We both have lost weight. That has helped a lot.

    My husband walks and has clocked 100+ miles just this month. We drive to San Diego for his shoes and pay the price they cost because before when he first started walking in department store tennis shoe his legs and feet hurt all the time. Now with the special expensive (worth every penny) shoes he can walk and does not hurt. I have had a treadmill for years and get on it here and there but I am determined to get on it more this year. Walking is the best exercise there is and often I will walk between shopping places or park in the farthest parking space just to get a bit more walking in.

  6. Just a thought that came to me after I hit enter is that my local Senior Center has a great work out room. Treadmills, spinners, and a few other machines. I haven't used it yet but I keep meaning to.


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