Six Tips For Staying Healthy In Retirement
– Dr. N. Mohindra
Aging is a fact of life. Unfortunately, when the time for retirement arrives, bad health can ruin what should be a person’s golden years. Luckily, concrete steps can be taken to maintain a sound body deep into retirement. If you are facing retirement, keeping your health should be your top priority. These six practical tips will help.
1. Eat well. Bodily health is always heavily dependent on diet, so eat as nutritiously as you can. Prioritize fruits and vegetables, while minimizing the amount of sugary, salty, high-fat, and processed foods you consume. Lean protein is also good for you, though otherwise meat should not be eaten in large amounts. In general, avoid trendy fat diets (which never actually work) and follow the recommendations of your personal physician.
2. Don’t smoke (and avoid secondhand smoke). Doctors universally agree: smoking is one of absolute worst things you can do to your body. This only becomes truer as the body gradually ages during the senior years. Smoking has been demonstrated to raise blood pressure, boost rates of heart disease, and harm the circulatory system. So, if you don’t smoke, don’t start — and if you do, try your best to quit. Stay away from secondhand smoke as much as possible as well.
3. Exercise your body. To stay healthy, you need to put your body through its paces. While some loss of function is inevitable as the years pass, exercise helps stave off the negative effects of aging, allowing you to maintain a fit and active lifestyle deep into retirement. While strength training is worthwhile, older folks should primarily focus on basic cardiovascular training. If working out has not been your habit heretofore, don’t despair. A late start is better than never. Just make sure to begin slowly, so as to avoid strain and potentially dangerous overwork. Even light exercises (such as walking) are valuable.
4. Exercise your brain. Mental decline is not inevitable. In fact, since new neural pathways can be forged at any age, the brain can remain strong even when the body falters. Avoid loss of cognitive ability by engaging in new activities (such as learning a language, taking a class, or the like) or challenging your mind with puzzles. Generally, any activity that makes you think hard will help. Difficult mental tasks stretch and test your cognitive abilities, keeping your wits sharp.
5. Maintain emotional health. Good health isn’t just about the body and the brain — emotions and feelings play a major role too. Scientific research has shown that mental problems like depression and stress (among others) can cause serious physical harm, lowering a person’s life expectancy. Unfortunately, many older folks invite trouble by becoming socially isolated as they age. Keep yourself well by maintaining the relationships you already have — and make new friends too. Relaxing activities and therapy can also help treat psychological issues.
6. See your doctor. It’s critical for people of any age to consult with their physician, but even more so for seniors. Schedule regular checkups and keep your doctor abreast of any physical changes, particularly ones that worry you. If something feels ‘off’ to you, it could be a sign of something serious. The sooner a health problem is discovered, the better. You should also get screened for common cancers and other conditions that older people are prone to.
While many claim that the key to a good retirement is having a large retirement fund, in fact good health is much more important. If you don’t have your health, you won’t be able to enjoy your senior years at all — simply facing each day will be a challenge. So, save yourself from pain and retain your quality of life by following the six valuable tips described above.