7 Tips To Stay Healthy in Your Retirement

One essential element to a living a fulfilling fun retirement is good health. We all know as we age we begin to lose some of that youthful strength and stamina we took for granted not so many years ago. Little things can become challenging from ascending that oh-so-familiar flight of stairs to picking up a dropped set of keys. No one ever said getting old was easy.

The reality of aging is what it is but we need not surrender without a fight. To be the best we can during our second act we should get serious about doing those things that are part of a healthy lifestyle, starting now. Make sure you are healthy enough to exercise then get to it.

Cover all the bases

As we age staying healthy requires we address three important areas:

Cardio – we need to keep our heart healthy. When younger running was a great way to go and for many it still can be. But I know my knees appreciate my focus on less impactful alternatives. Walking is a great option – if you can throw in a few hills so much the better. Biking is another and if the roads scare you stationary pedaling is an option that works for me. Swimming is as low impact as you can get and still gets your heart pumping.

Strength – those of us over fifty need to maintain muscle and bone strength as we age. I have been lifting weights since I was in college and although the amounts are decreasing I continue my regimen twice a week. It might help to find a trainer at the local gym to help create a personalized routine. Make sure you learn how to do the exercise correctly or you may do more harm than good.

Flexibility and balance – older folk fear falling more than almost anything. Broken bones can quickly change your life for the worse. Work on improving your balance through things like yoga whether attending a class or watching videos. Try to fit in regular stretching to help stay limber. Pilates is an interesting combination of stretching and strength building you may enjoy.

Create a routine

I think it is safe to say most people do not enjoy exercising. Those hours of sweating and extra effort, constant struggles to avoid doing the wrong thing, turning down that so tasty looking dessert – all this for the greater good of living healthy. If it was easy everyone would be healthy.

Have a regular schedule and routine to help maintain your focus.

– Are you a morning or an evening person? Rather than fight your nature try to exercise when you are most in the mood.

– Are there particular days of the week when working out is challenging due to work or your schedule? Commit to those other days to get it done.

– Are you a procrastinator? If so do your best to get it done first thing so you can focus on what you would rather be doing.

Focus on living the right lifestyle not quick fixes

It seems every six months some new diet fad comes along. The particular diet du jour promises amazing results in no time at all – anyone can do it. Ranging from high fat to no fat, no carbs to just carbs, veggie only, meat only – it is easy to become confused. The problem all these programs have in common is they are short-term fixes only. Most of the recommended diets can be downright unhealthy if pursued long term.

If you want to control your weight and feel the best you can you need to live a lifestyle supporting those goals. Moderation is the mantra. Avoid too much of anything and focus on a little of everything. On the other hand a little splurge is not the end of the world. There is nothing wrong with occasionally treating yourself. My weakness is wine – nothing but empty calories but oh does a nice Pinot Noir taste glorious!

10,000 steps each day

I recently heard of a health-focused idea to target 10,000 steps each day. We each have different strides but for me that translates into about five miles. At first that sounded impossible but with a little effort I get pretty close to the daily marker. My doctor loves it and there is a feeling of accomplishment come days end having achieved my step goal.

Don’t look for the easy way

Rather than look for the path of least resistance why not try putting out a little extra effort? Walk to the post office rather than drive. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. While watching TV stretch or do some sit-ups or throw around a few weights. If you are waiting in line or traffic do some abdominal crunches or a few squats. If you maintain a focus on fitness you can find surprising ways to put dead time to good use.

Include variety to keep it interesting

Doing the same thing over and over tends to get old. If you hope to stick with your program of healthy living it helps to incorporate as many diverse activities as you can. Mix it up – try new things. There are plenty up and coming exercise/fitness programs to explore from barre to spin classes to jazzercise (is that still out there?) to circuit training. Find something you enjoy so you have the motivation to keep at it.

Don’t be too hard on yourself

There was a time when my chest stood out beyond my stomach. I used to be able to…(fill in the blank). I wish I could still… Comparing who you are today to who you were decades ago is not going to end well. Times have changed. You have changed.

It is not easy to face the reality that I am not physically the guy I was at 25 (heck 45!). Gravity sucks – literally. The years have taken a toll. But then I step back and realize I am not the first person to face this reality. Many have gone before me and survived similar challenges. They have learned to accept aging for what it is – just another chapter in the book of life.

Living a healthy lifestyle allows you to make the most of your retirement. You feel good and look good. You may not have the same stamina you once did but that is okay. It is important we accept some limitations that come with aging. On the other hand we have the power to influence those limitations by taking care of ourselves, body and mind. Enjoy the journey and stay healthy.

Written for Snider Advisors

LoveBeingRetired.com

Retirement – A Pause Before Your Next Adventure

Baby boomers are rewriting the rules of retirement. Few envision living a second act mirroring that of their parents. While mom and dad were satisfied with more time on the links and taking life easy, this generation has something different in mind. They will always make time to relax but that is not the main ingredient in their recipe for a fulfilling retirement.

Most of us first entering retirement initially focus on decompressing. After a stressful often times all-consuming career it is important to take a break. No one can run at 110 percent all the time. Our bodies and minds do better when given time to recharge.

Catch your breath. Take time to reflect upon a career spanning decades. It’s likely you have identified certain things you never want to do again. You now know better what motivates you, what gets you exited and ready to rumble. You may have discovered interests you never knew we had, perhaps a hidden passion or two waiting to be explored. Each career is a continuing education, a journey that comes to an official end with retirement. Or does it?

After reclaiming a certain life balance more and more boomers are looking ahead. What do I want to do next? Baby boomers are taking time to be introspective, to examine the life they have lived and imagine what could be. Retirement affords an opportunity to reset, to research and then embark on any of a myriad of possible new adventures. For the able bodied and mentally active retirement is far from the final destination.

Some open their new chapter with a part time job or second career doing what they genuinely care about. If money is not the main issue a new gig can be something they love perhaps similar to my working part time at a wine tasting room. The more adventurous may go so far as to start their own business utilizing skills learned during their career or even something all-together unrelated.

Not all will answer the “what do I do next” with a job. The beauty of this time in our lives is when it comes to how we choose to channel our energies we do not have to follow any script. We can be creative. We can paint outside the lines. We can satisfy our curiosity and try multiple things. We can do what we want with our time. Once the job you have to do is behind you are free to explore or create the “job” you want to do.

When I first retired (unplanned as it was) I was a bit nervous. Without the job, I was not sure what meaningful activities I would engage in. After the initial shock wore off I began to consider my options. I looked into those areas that had interested me in days gone by. Eventually I figured out a routine that occupied the hours and left me feeling somewhat satisfied at the end of the day. But something was missing – there had to be more.

Finding a part time job doing something I enjoy was the perfect solution. Not too many hours, no stress, working with people I like, learning about something I have always been interested in and engaging with happy folk typically vacationing or just celebrating life. I look forward to my next shift – a feeling long missing from those years spent navigating my career.

Retirement is only the beginning. Rather than view it as the end of the show it might be better seen as an encore. There will never be a more perfect time to uncover your particular interest/passion/dream and go for it. There is so much more to do and to be and retirement offers the freedom to explore. Rather than call it quits baby boomers are making their second act a finale worthy of applause.

LoveBeingRetired.com

Arthritis Friendly Retirement Activities

Written by Jessica Hegg

Freedom from job obligations is probably one of the biggest advantages of retirement, but the “take this job and shove it” effect is usually only short term.

Apropos of nothing, I’ve always found it interesting that a man who sang about quitting his job chose a stage name like Johnny Paycheck. There is probably a deeper meaning there that eludes me.

Back to the blog. Most of us who retire around 65 can expect to live at least another twenty years, because as they say, 60 is the new 40 and 80 is the new 60. All these days and hours will start to drag unless you have a sense of purpose, and since many of us define ourselves by our occupations, this intentionality is not always easy to find.

Somewhat complicating matters, many of us start experiencing chronic physical illnesses, such as arthritis, in our 60s and 70s. Although arthritis is not fatal or even terribly serious, it can transform previously enjoyable activities into chores. Furthermore, because of unwanted side effects, powerful muscle relaxers or painkillers are often not a very good option.

So, what are some arthritis-friendly ways to not only pass the time as we age, but also help us find purpose and meaning?

Low-Impact Exercises

Physical exercise is important at all ages, and the most recent research suggests that even a little bit of moderate exercise, such as a half-hour of brisk walking four or five days a week, has significant emotional and physical benefits.

Walking is very easy on the joints, so even folks with arthritic knees and/or ankles can do a few laps without much of a problem. A few light stretches after exercising should help ease any lingering discomfort.

No-impact water aerobics may be an option as well, and many people also benefit greatly from senior-friendly yoga classes. Such activities address not only the physical component, but the emotional component as well. Loneliness is a fairly significant problem among older people, even people who are married. Being around like-minded people of a similar age and station in life may help participants feel like they belong somewhere. Many class participants might go on to teach their own classes, thus giving them a sense of purpose.

Aquatic exercises place no strain whatsoever on joints, and yoga stretches might actually reduce arthritis pain, if for no other reason that the participant focuses on something other than achy joints for about a half hour a day.

Art Therapy

Some people communicate better visually than orally, and art therapy is simply an extension of that idea. Primarily, two types of people can benefit from this activity:

  • People who have experienced traumatic events in their lives and need to understand them, and
  • Those who are looking for personal development.

Many retired people fall squarely into that second category.

Similar to yoga, art therapy is a good way to stop thinking about arthritis pain for a few hours a week. As for using arthritic fingers to paint, many people ask “do arthritis gloves work?” The answer is a resounding yes. The compression and heat ease discomfort, and many gloves have no fingers, so fine motor skills, like holding a brush or manipulating a phone, are largely unaffected.

Volunteering

Practically no one has arthritis of the jaw, and there is no such thing as arthritis of the soul, so even more advanced arthritis cannot stand in the way of volunteering for a cause.

To find temporal fulfillment as well as emotional fulfillment, volunteering in this context probably means operating a soup kitchen instead of serving lunch a couple of times a week or being a higher level campaign operative as opposed to an envelope stuffer. While there is certainly nothing wrong with serving lunch or stuffing envelopes, and these activities are vital to their respective organizations, retired people have a near-limitless resource to share (their time), and this resource is arguably more precious than money or anything else.

You did not call in sick due to a head cold while working, and there is no reason to call in sick during retirement either, especially when there are so many available options.