Boomer Goals Series: Maintaining Good Health Into Retirement

An old couple getting their dance on

(Editor’s note: Welcome to the second installment of the Boomer Goals Series, which will dig deeper into topics facing the “Baby Boomer” Generation. Check out the first installment, about the importance of giving back in retirement, here!)

Many older adults assume it will be easy maintaining better health once they retire. After all, with all that additional free time on their hands, making time for healthy behaviors and exercise should be simple. But this is not always the case and maintaining good health during the retirement years requires a conscious effort. This is because retirement is not just an event but instead a period of transition. Those who are committed to staying healthy in retirement invest in specific activities in order to achieve their goals. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to some healthy retirement tips if you wish to get the most out of your golden years.

According to recent surveys, retirement itself is listed as the 10th most stressful life event for individuals. Many things change upon retirement that involves more than a shift in your schedule and responsibilities. In fact, many people face new challenges they didn’t expect. Some struggle finding new social activities outside of their job while others lose a sense of purpose. Making these adjustments well, however, is important for staying healthy in retirement. From a holistic perspective, healthy retirement tips involve more than just exercise and diet. They include several considerations that new retirees need to appreciate.

The Benefits of Staying Healthy in Retirement

Understandably, there are many reasons each of us should want to maintain good health at every age of life. But staying healthy in retirement is even more important. As we age, the chance of developing chronic illnesses increase, and this can affect our quality of life. Among older individuals who lead sedentary lives, the risk for diabetes, stroke, and heart attack increase. Likewise, mobility, balance, and strength deserve greater attention to maintain that at younger ages. This is why falls and fractures are similarly more common with aging. In order to get the most out of life after work, it pays to consider some healthy retirement tips.

The majority of retirees have long planned the things they will do once they no longer have to work. Some cannot wait to travel the world while others finally get to pursue a hobby about which they are passionate. But without good health, the opportunity to make these plans a reality may never materialize. Staying healthy in retirement gives us the ability to remain independent so we can do the things we like. Thus, healthy retirement tips that better ensure physical, mental, and social wellness are in our best interest. The quality of life good health provides enhances all the other activities we choose to pursue.

Investing in Physical Health in Retirement

Exercise and physical wellness become increasingly important as we get older. Our muscles begin to lose muscle mass as early as our 30s. Likewise, flexibility, balance, endurance and strength all gradually decline with age without dedicated effort. Therefore, staying healthy in retirement requires regular daily exercise for older adults in order to be their best physically. This allows us to maintain good mobility and independence so we may achieve the things we want. Plus, physical activity is also linked to better mood, improved memory, and quality sleep. This is why most healthy retirement tips routinely encourage exercise as part of a daily routine.

(Read more about the link between exercise and aging well in this Project Bold Life story!)

For older adults, the degree of physical exertion doesn’t have to be extreme to enjoy its advantages. In fact, high-impact activities should be avoided because of their potential to injury joints. However, aerobic, endurance and strength-building exercises are important in promoting better musculoskeletal and cardiovascular wellness. Cycling, hiking, resistance training, and swimming are some healthy retirement tips related to exercise. Likewise, playful activities that involve physical movement can also be engaging and fun.

Making New Social Connections

Once we retire, we often no longer enjoy the same degree of social interactions. We no longer see colleagues at work each day, which naturally leaves a social void for many. This can be a problem for retirees who live alone or who tend to be homebodies. With this in mind, staying healthy in retirement also requires us to make new social connections to replace old ones. We are social beings by nature, and when we engage in our community, we’re naturally happier and healthier. A strong social network not only enhances our outlook on life. But it also improves our mood, our attitude, and often gives us a stronger sense of purpose.

Healthy retirement tips thus include reestablishing social connections in an effort to be our best. This can be readily achieved when we choose to participate in community activities. These may involve church functions, civic activities, or many other social events. Volunteering at community events are great options for socializing. Similarly, traveling with others, group tours, and having lunch with new friends can quickly build your new social circle. Staying healthy in retirement involves more than just physical wellness. Investing in new social networks is also among the more important healthy retirement tips.

Engaging in Creative Explorations

Staying healthy in retirement not only involves physical and social wellness. It also includes keeping your mind active and engaged as well. There are many things to do in retirement that can help optimize your mental performance. For example, word puzzles, games, and reading are excellent activities to boost mental alertness and memory. In fact, these types of activities can reduce risks associated with memory loss. Other healthy retirement tips encourage attending classes or educational seminars in staying mentally active. This is particularly helpful if it involves hobbies or subjects we thoroughly enjoy.

In addition to these activities, healthy retirement tips concerning mental wellness also encourage creative explorations. Creativity is important as it keeps our minds youthful and full of curiosity. This allows us to have a higher level of mental energy to engage in our retirement years. Plus, creative endeavors challenge us and make us more resilient. And most of all, these pursuits are fun, which boosts our mood and provides us with a positive outlook. Ultimately, this not only leads to better mental health but better physical and social wellness as well.

Making Holistic Health a Priority

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for those in retirement to experience health and wellness setbacks. Some have even suggested that retirement itself might be a health risk. Compared to those working, retirees have a 40% higher risk of stroke or heart attack the first year after work. But these risks tend to be greatest among those who ignore healthy retirement tips involving physical, social, and mental wellness. Those invested in staying healthy in retirement have much better outcomes. With this in mind, it’s important to consider those activities shown to better maintain holistic health during these years.


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About the Author

Through timely and thoughtful articles, the book Project Bold Life: The Proven Formula to Take on Challenges and Achieve Happiness and Success, and other media, we deliver engaging content that educates, motivates and inspires you to live a Bold Life.
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