The Golden Years: Staying Mentally and Physically Fit During Retirement
For working people, retirement is the final stretch, the milestone that signifies a time to relax and reap the benefits of decades of hard work. Though retirement is indeed a time to relax, having a successful retirement takes planning and dedication both before and during your golden years. In order to stay healthy as you age and make the most out of your retirement, it’s important to prioritize your mental and physical health. Here are some ways to keep your mind and body sharp and active.
A strong sense of purpose and social life are necessary for a happy, meaningful retirement. Having a sense of purpose delays the effects of aging, and staying involved with friends and family prevents depression and loneliness. In order to keep a sense of purpose during retirement, consider developing a hobby or interest while still working. That way, you’ll have a passion to pursue during your free time once you retire. Many retirees also choose to volunteer or work part-time, which also creates structure and keeps you active. When it comes to social activity, Research from the Institute on Aging at Boston College found that grandparents who were able to give and receive support from grandchildren were less likely to be depressed. Additionally, involving a spouse or family member in your post-retirement plans helps ease the transition. If your family isn’t local, adopting a cat or dog also has great benefits—over time, a pet can decrease cholesterol, fight stress and depression, and keep you active. Make time for social activities and hobbies in order to keep your mind positive and engaged as you age.
In addition to social activity, moderate physical activity is important for your health and overall satisfaction. Though retirement is a time to wind down, if you sit around all day when you’re retired, your health will certainly deteriorate. In fact, in some parts of the world, retirement isn’t a concept; these older adults stay involved in household responsibilities like childcare, cleaning, and gardening as long as they can. As a result, these people have some of the longest average lifespans in the world. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t retire, but it’s a testament to the benefits of staying physically active. Therefore, consider an aerobic exercise like walking, which boosts energy and prevents heart disease. Strength exercises are also important; they increase muscle strength and bone density. Additionally, as you age, you’re more likely to struggle with weight and nutrition issues. Load up on fresh foods and make sure to eat 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Make sure to stay away from prepacked foods with high sodium content, which can raise blood pressure. By eating healthy and staying active, you create the energy needed to enjoy each day.
The health of the body affects the health of the mind and vice versa. You can’t have one without the other, which is why it’s necessary to exercise your mind and muscles even during retirement. That doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy sipping a pina colada on a beach somewhere. Just make sure you involve your friends or family and take a walk every now and then.
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