As the baby-boomer generation continues to age, the mechanics of an effective retirement strategy are becoming an increasingly pressing financial issue for most.  Whatever specific strategy one chooses, one universal concept at the foundation of every strategy is the need for a large financial “nest egg.”  That is a large lump sum that can be invested, can earn you interest and income, and will hopefully last as long as you do.

The biggest fear most people have in retirement is – what if I run out of money?

No one would disagree that the larger the nest-egg the less likely you are to use it all up.  A larger nest egg earns more interest, generates more income, and most importantly to our discussion – takes longer to deplete.  And the most obvious strategy to keep your nest-egg growing is to make frequent steady deposits into your retirement account throughout your entire working life.  Those who wait until just a few years prior to retirement are likely not able to save enough to build up a large enough nest-egg to last them through retirement.

Sadly, most baby boomers don’t pay nearly as much attention to their bodies as they do their retirement account.  But just like your 401K account at work, or your IRA, our bodies have a “nest-egg” that must be cared for, maintained, and grown so that it lasts us and supports us in our final years of life.

Our body’s 401K account is our Muscle Mass.

Mother Nature takes care of our initial investment of muscle growth for us up until our mid-30s or so.  After that – we start making withdrawals whether we want to or not.  With every decade of life we withdraw more and more from our nest-egg of muscle mass.  The process of Sarcopenia, or the steady decay and atrophy of our muscle mass, exponentially grows more rapid with every decade.  Sarcopenia (the loss of muscle mass) is a natural by-product of aging – it affects us all and has some dire consequences.

If not addressed, Sarcopenia, will leave us frail, weak, dependent, and generally looking and feeling tired and miserable.  As we lose the muscle mass our metabolism starts to slow.  As the metabolism slows we gain body fat.  So now we enter our 70s and 80s weak AND overweight.  A terrible combination that wreaks havoc on knees, hips, and backs and makes everyday activities difficult to perform and enjoy.

Knowing this, we must protect our nest-egg of muscle mass the same way we protect our financial nest egg.   In order to make sure that our muscle mass lasts as long as we do, we need to make steady deposits into our “Physiologic 401K.”

But instead of depositing a check into your brokerage account you are going to need to strength train.  Strength training is the only mechanism we have to grow, build, and protect our muscle mass.  Every strength training workout you perform is like making a deposit.  It grows and strengthens what you already have and protects you from further losses.

You are going to need all that muscle when you get older.  It’s what will keep you healthy, active, and independent.  Grow it now, while you still have the means to do so.  Don’t wait until you can no longer get out of a chair, recover from a fall, or lift a grandchild off the floor.  By then it might be too late.

When you retire, the only thing worse than running out of money is running out of muscle!