Eat Sleep Move

David Gartland

WHEN I WAS A KID, I would hear “old people” say, “If you have your health, you have just about everything.” I heard it. I understood it. But in truth, I didn’t really understand it—until I joined the “old people” category.

Looking back, I realize I’ve been blessed with good health. I’ve never broken any bones. I’ve never spent a night in the hospital. I’ve never had any long-lasting illnesses. I don’t regularly take medication, just a Centrum Silver daily vitamin. I’m lucky and I know it.

I am also not so smart. I need simple truths to help me navigate daily life. For instance, the classic balanced portfolio—60% stocks-40% bonds—is a simple investment mix that should keep me out of trouble. Dollar-cost averaging lets me add new money to my investment funds without thinking too much. Mutual funds allow my money to grow without me getting actively involved. It’s my kind of investing.

Similarly, when it comes to my health, I needed a simple strategy. I found it in the concept of eat-sleep-move. What this means is eat right, sleep eight hours a night, and move or exercise regularly. I have, in turn, spent time studying each of these three to find simple tricks so I get them right.

Eat. Keep your plate colorful. If it only has brown and white colors, that’s not good. Red, green, blue and orange only come from fruits and vegetables. We’re often told to eat more fruits and vegetables, but which ones? As long as you follow the colorful plate strategy, you should be getting the variety you need.

Sleep. Go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time. This allows your body to get into a routine and should lead to consistent sleep. Setting up your bedroom for sleeping, with the proper temperature and darkness, will also help. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a night owl like my wife, or an early-to-bed, early-to-rise person like me, get your eight hours or, failing that, as many as you can. But be careful not to sleep too much.

Move. Do something—anything—every day, as long as it involves moving. Thinking doesn’t count. Unless you’re sleeping, sitting is better than lying down. Standing is better than sitting. Walking is better than standing. Running and biking is better than walking. The best part: You don’t need to go to the gym. Just get outside. It’s cheap and always available. This includes bending and squatting while mowing the lawn or tending to the garden. Just do more stuff.

The healthier you are, the less you spend on medical care. The older you are, the more expensive medical care gets. Want to save money? Focus on the eat-sleep-move strategy. It’s no guarantee you’ll stay healthy—but smoking, drinking and eating hamburgers are almost a guarantee you won’t.

Don’t think of it as needing to behave. Instead, think of it as saving money in the long run. How long? How about 100 years—without going broke?

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Free Newsletter