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Climb stairs and learn to be better investors?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Although somewhat tardy, I still reply to emails, messages and comments from readers even as I blog less frequently in recent months. So, since I blog less often, what have I been up to?

I have been paying more attention to my diet and I have also been spending more time on other hobbies such as gardening. Something else I have been doing is to engage in more physical exercise.

Almost daily, I would be doing some form of physical exercise, taking a break only once or twice a week. One physical exercise I have engaged in since the start of the Chinese New Year is stair climbing.

Why stair climbing?

I was looking for a cardio vascular exercise that would better strengthen muscles, burn more calories and which has lower impact on the knees compared to jogging. Stair climbing is all of these.

Stair climbing has another advantage. It saves time.

Most of us live in high rise buildings in Singapore. So, we have easy access to stairs. We don't have to spend time travelling to a gym to work out. 

Oh, yes, we save on paying for a gym membership too. Sorry, I couldn't resist saying this.

Today, I am inspired to blog about stair climbing because of an email I received from a reader and one of the sentences towards the end was:

"I will work to be as successful as you are although I feel that it would be an impossible task..."

I decided to tell him a story about stair climbing.

When I first started to climb stairs on the first day of Chinese New Year, I climbed 54 floors and almost died. OK, I exaggerate but it really did feel like I was on the brink of death. It took me a rather long time to complete and I took a step at a time.

After a few days, I took two steps per stride which is more effective in strengthening the muscles because it creates a bigger mechanical disadvantage, making the exercise more demanding. I was able to climb 54 floors taking two steps per stride before long.

I gradually pushed myself to complete 90 floors, taking 1 step at a time for the last 36 floors. Then, I pushed myself to take two steps per stride for all 90 floors. It was obvious that I was growing physically stronger.

However, just like how share prices don't move up in a straight line, there were days when I just felt less energetic. On those days, I would cut myself some slack and climb only 54 floors. 
On some days, I would feel more energetic and climb 108 floors. 

Today, I felt really good and climbed 126 floors, taking 2 steps per stride. This is the first time I have ever climbed 126 floors since I started stair climbing.

What is the message here? 

When the conditions are right, we should do more. When the conditions are not in our favour, we should do less.

If I did not push myself to climb 126 floors today although I felt good, I would not grow stronger. However, in a bid to grow stronger, if I tried to push myself to do more when I really should be doing less, I could end up hurting myself.

Regular readers would know that this is not just a blog post about physical exercise. There is a message for investors embedded somewhere.

All of us have different circumstances and we have to be pragmatic. External conditions are also ever changing. 

Sometimes, we should invest more. Sometimes, we should invest less. The important thing is to stay the course. Don't stray and don't stop.

What we should stop doing is comparing and want to be as successful as someone else. What we should do is to ensure that we are better off financially, year after year. 

It is about being as successful as our circumstances and external conditions would allow and this is definitely not an impossible task.

Be a successful investor but you don't have to be as successful as AK or anyone else.

Other blog posts on what AK has been up to:
1. Investing or gardening, be ready for war.

2. Being fallible in dieting and investing.
3. Who make the best investors for income?


Goh said...

I used to climb stairs too a year ago. Two times daily from 1st to 9th floor of my office.
Must say it helps with my fitness level, but since last Oct, I developed a painful heel condition called plantar fasciitis.
I can't be sure that stairs climbing is the cause, but an internet page says that it is a risk factor.

Enjoy your exercise, but be moderate and careful.

My 15HWW said...

Hi AK,

I found this post of you to be rather inspirational.

I think your success as an investor has translated to other parts of your life. Judging from the pictures, the physical transformation has indeed been great and I guess, on the positive side.

With the right diet and exercise, nothing is impossible.

I am probably at least a decade younger than you and I have to admit climbing more than 50 flights of stairs is a daunting thought. Kudos to you!

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing AK, you are a teacher at heart. That's what I have been telling my friends but some finds it hard to keep their itchy fingers out of the market in market highs. Congrads on your weightloss! Tt's some serious shredding... cheers to a healthier you!

AK71 said...

Hi Goh,

Thanks for sharing this. I don't know what caused your heels to hurt but I have a feeling that climbing 9 floors twice daily isn't sufficiently stressful to cause hurt if we have appropriate shoes and are not overly heavy (naturally or bearing loads). :)

AK71 said...

Hi Keynes,

When I believe something is worth doing, I believe it is worth doing well. Some friends think that I tend to be obsessive about stuff I believe in. They could be right although I like to think that I am just being devoted. ;p

AK71 said...

Hi pengs,

Thanks for the encouragement and I hope that many would be inspired by this blog post to be both financially and physically healthy. :)

WTK said...


Self belief is important. Different people may have different opinion on things. I am of view that one should stick to his/her plan as per his/her view rather than others' view. Eventually it will be the person who will be responsible for the outcome of the plan.

My two cents' worth of opinion.


AK71 said...

Hi Ben,

Of course, we are all entitled to our own opinions and plans even if they might sound too pessimistic or optimistic to others.

It is important, however, to keep an open mind and hear what others have to say. Of course, this is my own opinion. ;)

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