Monday, January 28, 2013

What's Your 401 (k) Health Portfolio?

We are constantly being warned about SAVING....saving for retirement, saving for an emergency, saving for unknown medical expenses. Most individuals over 30 are warned to start saving TODAY  to ensure a nest egg at 65, as social security may be non-existent at their retirement.
The size of your present investment will determine the quality of your retirement life!
Our previous blog talked about changes in healthcare and changes in the way we should look at health. This one is no different.
Lets look at health as an investment; the same way we look at stocks.
If you invest 30 minutes 3 times a week in exercise, research shows it's enough to ensure a healthy cardio vascular system. So let's name this investment "aerobic stock".
If you remove trans fats, fried foods, processed foods, fast foods from your diet and switch to home-cooked and healthy green meals; research shows it can reduce your risk of cholesterol, CVS disease, and high blood pressure. So let's name this investment "diet stock".
If you maintain a healthy lifestyle, don't smoke, don't consume excessive alcohol and get enough sleep, research shows you reduce your risk of liver, lung and heart disease. So let's name this investment "choice stock".
But have you ever thought about "MOVEMENT STOCK" ?
You may get to 65 with a strong heart, no cholesterol and no liver disease but they may seem quite useless if you cannot move!
No one is taking this "mobility stock" as a serious contender to their overall health portfolio.
Hence investment is low.
Here are some risk factors that are indicators of a poor mobility investment:
1. Can't cross legs to tie shoe laces (men) and (women) needing to sit down to strap shoes or put on stockings.
2. Neck and low back stiffness upon waking up or going to bed.
3. Headaches - not normal- even it triggered by stress.
4. Can't bend or stoop down to pick up things from floor or need help getting up from floor.
5. My favorite - POSTURE- your posture slouched, stiff or unaware is enough to breakdown the entire movement system.
While you may say I go to pilates, yoga, gym etc. therefore by default my investment is solid.Think Again! If you get a blood test every year even if you go the gym and eat healthy, why are you not assessing to see if your movement system is optimal or headed to breakdown?
Prior to private practice in NYC; I was a Physical Therapist to professional athletes world wide including tennis stars like Sharapova and the Williams sisters. The biggest reward was not having a million dollar athlete miss a match due to a movement breakdown. Preventing an injury is much better than rehab -- as it takes time away from life!
So I urge you big apple residents --- assess your movement stock by scheduling an appointment with a physical therapist- as living in the city is a professional sport!
Renuka Pinto, MPT, PGDR, CSCS, CES
Duffy & Bracken, Physical Therapy
-Serving Downtown NYC for over 24 Years!!

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