Retirement should be a carefree period of your life where you finally get the time to do all the activities that work prevented you from doing, allowing you to discover new things and spend time with loved ones.
UK residents are living longer, yet more of us are suffering from chronic health issues such as diabetes, heart and liver disease. This not only takes a toll on how much you can enjoy your retirement, but also puts a strain on your savings once you cash in your pension.
Retirement should be a well-deserved rest after a life of hard work, and your days should be spent at ease, not worrying about your health in hospital waiting rooms.
The good news is that it is never too late to lead a healthy lifestyle and little changes can make a big difference to your overall health. There are so many ways you can boost your health and look after yourself properly to enable you to make the most of your retirement days.
You don’t have to have been an athlete all of your life to reap the benefits of regular physical exercise. Exercise helps you to maintain a stable body weight, strengthens your muscles and lowers your blood pressure. It is also known to lower stress levels, and prevents anxiety and depression, as it boosts your mood due to “happy hormones”, endorphins, which are released during physical activity.
If you are worried about over-doing it, avoid the gym and consider taking long walks, yoga or going swimming. Even gardening is a form of physical activity which will benefit your health in the long run.
Lower your alcohol intake
While we all enjoy the occasional glass of wine or two, it is easy to stray off course and consume a bit too much alcohol. This can cause significant damage to your organs, which is much harder to reverse in later life and can lead to chronic illnesses such as liver and heart disease. Alcohol also affects your immune system, putting you at a higher risk of catching the flu.
As alcoholic drinks contain a lot of calories, drinking will lead you to gain weight. Being overweight in later life is very dangerous as it can lead to diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol problems and many more. Try not to drink more alcohol than you know your body can handle, or save it for special occasions such as going out for a meal.
Prevention is better than cure
Taking preventative measures such as having a flu jab or being regularly checked for diseases such as breast, lung or colorectal cancer may seem pedantic, but could save your life in the future.
Keeping an eye on your health can help you spot early indicators of serious illnesses and give you a greater chance of overcoming them. Speak to your GP if you need any more information about taking preventative measures against different conditions.
Eating food that is rich in nutrients and vitamins will promote your overall health and will boost your energy levels. Try and eat a rainbow of colour to ensure you are getting a variety of types of fruit and vegetables. Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and flush out any toxins too.
Try and keep an optimistic outlook about life. Jama Psychiatry found that people that held a positive attitude had a 77% lower risk of heart disease and generally lived longer than people who had a negative outlook on life. This could be because stress plays havoc with your immune system and causes inflammation.
While stress is sometimes unavoidable in life, try to stay calm and think positively. Make sure you keep yourself busy and make time to socialise with others. Volunteering for a charity is a fantastic way to contribute towards a good cause, help others and keep yourself occupied.
It’s easy to find this kind of advice patronising, and it’s important to remember that everybody is different. However, you’ll be surprised at just how many people fail to follow these common sense tips once they near retirement.