In order to make the most out of your retirement years and avoid spending most of your retirement savings on health-related and medical expenses, it’s important to take stock of a healthy lifestyle prior to, as well as during, retirement. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, avoid being sedentary, and consider future health-related costs as a result of your current lifestyle. Points to keep in mind include maintaining a healthy diet, which includes nutrition and exercise, reduce stress, prevent disease and have a good attitude.
In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the world’s population aged 60 years and over has doubled since 1980, which indicates that health conditions have improved, This age group is also forecast to rise from 600 million in 2000 to 2 billion in 2050. Below are some recommendations on what you can do now to enjoy a healthy lifestyle in retirement.
Focus on nutrition and maintain a healthy diet
Even though the quality of food may have changed over the years, medical professional still recommends that you pay attention to your nutrition. The NIA points out that you should choose nutrient-dense foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, and poultry, rather than calorie-heavy foods such as baked goods, candy, and chips.
Certain health conditions may require behavioral and nutritional changes. And these changes may lead to a healthier lifestyle and better use of your retirement savings down the road. For example, NIH recommends the DASH Eating Plan for those living with high blood pressure. The DASH eating plan emphasizes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fat-free or low-fat dairy, seafood, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts. DASH has less salt and sodium, sweets, added sugars, fats, and red meats than the typical American eats. You should always check with your doctor regarding questions on lifestyle and nutritional changes.
Doctors recommend at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week for people aged 65 years or older but the way you structure it is up to you – you can split it up over a few days or try 10-minute sessions several times a day.
You should choose the exercise on the basis of your interest and you’re most comfortable with as there is a better chance you will stick to the new routine. To help you get started on an exercise routine.
Stress has been known to cause high blood pressure, which can then lead to heart disease. Chronic stress and depression have also been shown to increase the risk for cancer as your immune system weakens. Physical signs of stress include headaches, racing heart, difficulty sleeping and aches and pains, while the emotional signs range from anxiety and frequent mood swings to sadness and depression.
When you suffer from stress, figure out what’s causing it. Once you identify the cause of your stress, determine the best ways to cope with it. Set realistic goals and don’t expect to be perfect in everything that you do. Manage your time effectively and stay flexible and realistic when planning your schedule.
As previously mentioned, a healthy diet and regular exercise are the keys to help you stay healthy in pre and post-retirement and can even prevent or mitigate health issues. The NIA suggests that you avoid any “anti-aging” supplements and/or hormones currently being marketed to older generations as there is no proof of effectiveness and the health risks of short- and long-term use are unknown.
Ask your doctor for recommendations about vitamins and daily food choices and how you can maintain healthy habits as you get older.
You’re only as old as you think you are. A recent study found that positive attitudes can increase longevity by a median of 4.9 years. Another study of industrial workers nearing retirement found that positive expectation of finances, friends, social activity, and level of preparedness significantly helped them have more positive attitudes about retirement.
It’s also generally believed that if you have an optimistic self-perception about aging and plan to spend your retirement years doing meaningful activities or work, you’re likely to enjoy a better quality of life and be happier.