When most people think about retirement, they envision a life of freedom. From traveling the world to spending time with grandchildren, everyone’s goals for their golden years are different.
No matter your dreams, lasting health will help you enjoy your future. In a recent survey, 81% of retirees said good health is most important for having a happy retirement. Unfortunately, many people aged 65 and older face health challenges, including obesity, hypertension, and depression. In fact, a couple retiring in 2017 may need $275,000 to cover their healthcare costs.
Getting older doesn’t have to mean declining wellness. Take steps now to preserve your health, and you may be better able to enjoy life after your career. Start with these tips to stay physically and mentally active in retirement:
1. Physical Activity
Physical activity can bring many benefits, including helping to delay some diseases and reduce symptoms of depression. The National Institutes on Aging (NIA) emphasizes the importance of exercise and recommends that people complete all of the following types of activities:
- Endurance: Any exercise that makes you breathe hard helps you build your energy. The NIA recommends getting 30 minutes of endurance exercise on most or all days.
- Strength: Lifting or pushing weights builds stronger muscles, which can improve many aspects of your daily life and help you stay independent.
- Balance: Honing your balance can help keep you from suffering fall-related injuries and disabilities.
- Flexibility: Stretching can help you to keep up with physical tasks, such as taking items off tall shelves.
2. Mental Activity
Staying mentally sharp in retirement is just as important as maintaining physical fitness. A recent survey showed that retirees fear Alzheimer’s and dementia more than any other major disease. Thankfully, research has found that a number of habits can help you improve and protect your memory.
- Learn new skills or information: When you’re working, your job can keep you mentally active. But in retirement, you may need to seek new ways to stimulate learning. Consider taking up a hobby or gaining a new skill to help increase your memory.
- Use your brain efficiently: Rather than spending energy on unnecessary tasks, like searching for your keys or trying to remember an event’s time, make routine information easy to access. For example, always keep your keys in the same spot and keep a written calendar with all of your events and appointments. Doing so will free your brain to focus on new information or remember important details.
- Stay socially engaged: Research suggests that strong social engagements may keep your cognitive abilities in shape. In other words, participating in social activities is not only fun and fulfilling—but it can also help you keep your memory strong. Whether you like to volunteer, have dinner with friends, visit your family, or anywhere in between, making your social life a priority is good for your health.
- Ignore aging myths: Negative stereotypes about memory and aging aren’t just insulting — they can also hurt how well people perform memory tasks. Instead of buying into rumors, feel confident that you are able to improve your memory and then take proactive steps to do so.
Staying mentally and physically focused matters in retirement. After all, you’re not just ending your career by retiring — you’re starting a new chapter in life that you deserve to enjoy fully.
If you have any questions about how to prepare for retirement or your financial health, we are always here to talk.