Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Living Richly In Retirement: A Few Quick Ways To Improve Your Health-And Perhaps Your Bottom Line

The importance of good health in retirement (or any other time, for that matter) cannot be emphasized too much.  Staying fit and healthy lowers medical costs, gives us more energy in retirement and keeps us young. Ideally, being healthy should be a life habit.  However, many folks enter the retirement zone after working in an office.  Others may have spent too much time enjoying that "do nothing" phase and need a good push. 

No matter the reason, it's wise to remember that it's never to late to be healthy. This is true if you're still in the working world, looking forward to retirement, or fully retired. Now is the time to increase your health level so that you can fully enjoy this time of your life. It's also always wise to try and increase our bottom line, even if only by pennies.  While I'm not an expert (nor do I play one on TV), in the past year I've lost sixty pounds, lowered my numbers dramatically and increased my energy.  Some of these suggestions I have used, some not.  But all are easy ways to make yourself just a little a little healthier in the long run.

Stop Smoking-or at least cut down.  Yes, I know it's difficult, and since I never smoked, I have no first hand experience with how difficult.  However, the amount of money spent on cigarettes is scary, and the costs of smoking (physical and financial are obvious). I was married to a guy who smoked for thirty years and did everything including acupuncture to try and quit.

Start moving, even if it's just a bit. If possible, do that moving outside, unless the weather is extreme.  We all need movement and fresh air. Unfortunately sitting on the patio with my pina colada doesn't really qualify as fresh air. Aerobic exercise increases health, improves blood pressure, helps with depression and frees up your mind.  Depending on your personality, you may choose to do this alone or with partners. I personally prefer to walk alone-its amazing the ideas I have during this time.

Cut out some fat-dietary fat that is.  For most people, cutting fat is easier than cutting sugar. Cutting sugar often involves some kind of withdrawal. Moving to low fat salad dressing, sour cream and cottage cheese is a slight change that will reap rewards over and over.

Slowly add fruits and veggies to your diet. Hardly anyone eats enough of these on a regular basis. My experience is that the best way to eliminate the bad stuff is to add the good stuff first.  I can attest to the fact it can be a shock to your system to radically drop calories and give up everything you live. But simple steps like this can help.

If you have not seen a DR lately, make an appointment and get your pressure, cholesterol and sugar checked.  These are all problems that can easily be corrected, and can adversely affect your health. High blood pressure especially has almost no symptoms in the early states.  If you doctor allows, look to exercise and diet to correct first.  I've had to fight with my Dr to lower and get rid of my blood pressure medicine under the "once you stop you can never start" theory of medication.

Watch the wine. I love wine, I adore wine, in a perfect world I'd have a good few glasses of wine every night. A glass a day, especially of red wine, can even improve health.  Too much wine makes you lethargic and we won't even talk about the calories.

Get enough sleep-even if you have to take a nap. Many of us have shorter "sleeping spans" now than when we were younger.  We still need our rest, however.  Flexible schedules allow for afternoon naps, sleeping later than when we were working and other alternatives.

Try and Reduce Stress. Yes, we can still have stress, even in retirement. Find ways-such as exercise-to deal with stress and anger.

Cut down on the television. I would never suggest giving up television.  Especially at this time of the year, when both baseball and football are my friends, television is a part of my life. But make TV a conscious choice-and attempt  to cut down an hour a day with possible. If nothing else you will free up an hour for exercise.

Consider exploring a hobby that doesn't require just sitting around. The ways and alternatives for making time for healthy exercise could make a blog post of its own-and possibly will.  However, it's worth noting that a person who enjoys only sedentary pastimes (sewing, reading, genealogy) probably need to make a special effort to find interests that both require a certain amount of movement and involve interaction with other people.


  1. You have great suggestions here and I am impressed with the 60 lb weight loss. I, too, did that about 6 years ago BUT...and you know what that BUT is! Maintaining the weight loss is the real stickler and I am back again at the beginning.

  2. Just what I needed to read today. Thanks!

  3. wow i just rejoined Weight Watchers (online this time) this weekend and a gym Tuesday! baaddd experience with an over-eager insulting personal trainer last night(still may report him)but I plan to use the gym for a few classes - if they dont' work out I'll cancel and just be out the $29 enrollment and $10 something for hte month it takes to cancel. I have a lot of dvds/vhs and some equipment(like my rebounder) and walking but would like to get out of the house for something different sometimes.
    I'm glad I never got into smoking - a friend does and if I could change one thing about her it would be that - she'd free up $ and have better health and set a better example for her toddler. but she smokes and I overeat though I'm working on mine once again.


  4. Susannah

    I main join WW at some point but right now I do well on my own. I did belong to Jenny craig as gift from my kids but the food was outreageous. I find I enjoy exercise outside MUCH for than in the gym

  5. I am big on exercise and healthy eating-it wasn't always this way. It helps if you track what you eat. At one point, I gained weight and I didn't know why. I started writing everything down and found that I was drinking 5 glasses of orange juice a day-and they were big glasses. I learned not to drink my calories-it doesn't fill you up. Now I mainly drink water.
    All of your suggestions are great-especially cutting down on TV-it can be a real time waster. I try to plan what I really want to watch and just watch that show.


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