Remaining active in retirement can give you the energy and stamina to enjoy this chapter in life, and it can also help you protect your nest egg from the high costs of medical care. Here is some information on the importance of preventative care plus some healthy retirement tips to consider incorporating into your routine before you retire.
The Importance of Preventative Care
Physical wellness before and during retirement tends to start with preventative care. Even the healthiest and most active people can still become ill or injured, and getting regular checkups can help your doctor screen for health issues that could be exacerbated by aging, such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol or cancer.
In addition to scheduling and attending checkups with your doctor, be sure to take care of your vision and oral health as well. Consider having your vision checked at least once every two years, or more often if your eye doctor recommends it. Because the risk of developing cavities typically increases with age, per the Mayo Clinic, maintaining twice-a-year dental visits is also important.
4 Healthy Retirement Tips
While regular preventative care can provide a good baseline for a healthy retirement, positive daily habits are also important for maintaining good health throughout your life. Here are some healthy habits to adopt and keep in place during your retirement.
1. Eat Nutritious Foods
The connection between what we eat and drink and our overall health is often plain to see. Who hasn't felt their body's wrath after an ill-advised late-night junk food binge? Eating healthy foods — particularly lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy — becomes even more important as you age.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), maintaining a healthy diet can help you avoid certain preventable diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, which can negatively affect your retirement. In addition, because your nutritional requirements and metabolism will likely change as you age, adopting the habits of healthy eating can also make it easier for you to adjust your diet as your nutritional needs shift.
2. Try to Exercise Regularly
Regular physical activity can provide a number of important benefits, especially for seniors who have retired. For example, exercising can help maintain healthy muscles, bones and joints, reducing the likelihood of falling or losing agility, according to the CDC. Physical activity can also help keep your mind and memory sharp, and it has been shown to alleviate depression and anxiety in many cases, HelpGuide notes, supporting a happier and more meaningful retirement.
If you're not sure where to start, aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise — meaning you breathe a little heavier than normal, but are not out of breath, and your body feels warmer, but not overheated — five times a week. Walking around your neighborhood, gardening in your backyard and going through a beginner Pilates routine are all great ways to get moving. If you don't have enough time or your body tells you it needs a break, it's OK to split the 30-minute goal into smaller sessions throughout the day. As long as you make exercising a habit and slowly ramp up your activity level, the health benefits will pay off.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Getting proper sleep can have a significant impact on your health. Not only can it help you feel more energetic, but the CDC notes that good sleep may also help protect you from health problems, such as heart attacks or strokes. Good sleep hygiene is vital for seniors, in part because hormonal changes that occur as a result of aging can make it more difficult to get uninterrupted sleep, according to HelpGuide.
Having a regular bedtime, keeping your room dark and cool, forgoing the use of distracting electronics before bed, and limiting caffeine and alcohol intake can help you get a good night's sleep.
4. Engage Your Brain
No list of healthy retirement tips is complete without a reminder to keep your mind engaged. Continually challenging yourself with memory games, reading, crafts, volunteering and ongoing learning can help you feel fulfilled, contented and mentally sharp in retirement.
By making these healthy retirement tips part of your life before you retire, you can ensure that you're already in the habit of prioritizing your health and well-being when you reach your golden years.