While retirement is something that most of us look forward to, many people have justifiable concerns about their mental and physical health deteriorating. In this blog, we discuss 5 ways to stay healthy in retirement.
People who are proactive about their health (and that includes people who have managed to find this blog post, we imagine) are far more likely to stay happy and healthy through their golden years.
1. Stay positive
Worries are understandable, as all of us have seen friends decline quite quickly after retirement. However, it is important to know that this is in no way inevitable - and having a plan to stay active in the mind and body can make the world of difference.
Despondency and "giving up" is a deadly state of mind to be in, though it can be tempting after (say) a bad health episode. To stay positive, look to the future - write lists of things you want to do, see, taste, and listen to. Write encouraging diary entries when you are feeling great for 'future you' to look back on in harder times.
2. Find purpose
Along these lines, and very important, is the need to find something to work at, or towards. Having a purpose of some sort (whether that is starting a fundraiser, tending to the perfect garden, writing your memoirs or tutoring others in a skill you excel in) is an amazing thing. Researchers at Oxford studied the effects of ageing in populations from the US and Japan, noting that the latter's focus on ikigai (what makes life worthy) could be a huge part of why their older people are in far better health than America's.
3. Stay physically active
You knew this one was coming! It's obvious, but it's obvious for a reason: staying physically active within your abilities is so vital. This doesn't mean that you need to be one of those pensioners who runs from Land's End to John O'Groats every September (although feel free, if that's what you're into!), but it does mean making an effort - every day - to keep your body strong and mobile.
Some ways to incorporate activity into your lifestyle include dancing to music as you do the housework, lifting weights as you read or watch television, and choosing scenic routes when you walk anywhere - although this is harder in some locations than others. A reason that so many of our clients choose Park Homes is that they have multiple attractive and interesting walks on their doorsteps. Moving is not, we realise, an option for everyone, although schemes like 'home exchange' can make it easier. In that case, think of joining a local walking group for ideas.
4. Stay mentally active
The brain is like a muscle: use it or lose it. Thankfully there are myriad ways of 'using it': doing the crossword, reading, playing musical instruments, learning a language, learning to use a new technology, playing board games with friends, dancing, etc.
5. Keep company
Loneliness is a killer. A social life is paramount when planning a happy and healthy retirement. Part of this is staying connected with family and other loved ones, and part of it is making new friends. Being part of a retirement community can be the simplest way to expand your social group - again, that is a commonly cited reason for people who join us in Park Homes - and joining clubs and societies, or getting involved in good work in your local community, are also excellent methods.
We hope that these tips have been useful, and allayed any fears you have; at least slightly. An enjoyable retirement is within most people's reach, and staying healthy in the mind and body makes it 100% easier to reach for.
Click below to download your free guide on how to avoid the 10 worst mistakes people make when they retire...