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Act now to have a healthy retirement

image3 jan20

There is a well-used adage that compares life to a fairground – the important thing is not how long the ride lasts, but the thrills, spills, and enjoyment you get from it along the way.

As you enter retirement, that adage might take on new meaning. It is not only a question of having a long retirement, but also one where you experience adventures and pursuits that give you pleasure and satisfaction.

And that relies on your continuing good health. So, here are a few tips and suggestions about maintaining a healthy retirement.

Act now

Recent research – cited in Saga magazine on the 28th of June – has identified lifestyle changes which are made in your 50s can significantly delay the inevitable frailty that comes with old age.

The risk factors you need to identify and start to tackle in your 50s include:

  • low levels of activity – so, take more exercise;
  • a high body mass index – so, watch what you eat to avoid obesity;
  • smoking – give it up; and
  • the presence of specific chemicals in your blood – interleukin-6 and/or C-reactive protein, which may contribute to inflammation and are especially prevalent in the obese or overweight.

Preparing for a healthy retirement, therefore, needs to start well before you reach that time – and, preferably while you are still in your 50s.

Physical health in retirement

Identification of and attention to those specific risk factors helps to explain why we featured so prominently the importance of exercise, diet and weight in our suggestions for better health and happiness in 2020.

Wellbeing and health

Your state of health in retirement is not just a question of the physical shape you are in. There are many other aspects likely to contribute to your overall health and wellbeing.

We have already mentioned the importance of preparing for retirement while you are still in your 50s. Advice published by the British Heart Foundation develops that principle a little further by suggesting that you make your transition into full retirement in stages – winding down your work, for example, by agreeing with your employer to steadily put in fewer hours.

A flexible outlook may also help you through those times when events do not go entirely according to plan. Ill-health, bad luck, or changing relationships may inevitably appear as setbacks. But a positive attitude and knowing where to turn for help or support may put you back on the road to feeling well with the world once again.

While paying attention to physical exercise, also make sure to keep an active mind too. That might take the form of learning – a language or new skills, for example – but is equally found in maintaining an interest in local community affairs, volunteering, and cultivating new friendships.

You might also want to keep your mind active by pursuing the current trend for mindfulness and meditation. In addition to it helping to relieve anxiety, stress, and depression, recent studies have also shown that it may stave off memory loss and mental agility.

Finally, remember that, after all your years of hard work, you have earned your retirement. It is very much your time. A time to indulge in things just for you. A time to pamper yourself.

Further reading: How to retire with a passion.

The data and information cited in this article are accurate at the time of writing.

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