Have You Planned For Increasing Your Healthy Years?
Carolyn and Mikol here.
If you’re like we are, lots of your Boomer friends are retiring, have already retired or are planning it.
Being responsible, supporting a family, running a business, being a terrific employee or whatever you did before you retired, you barely had time for yourself. Now that’s changing. Now you can plan on all those things you never had time to do during those long working years. Maybe you have a financial plan, a leisure time plan and even a projects plan. But, one thing sometimes gets overlooked: we need to have a plan for keeping our retirement years as healthy as possible too.
We may think of ourselves as vital, energetic and looking forward to travel and fun things a work schedule did not allow. But we rarely plan into our retirement strengthening and improving our good health and how it will able us to enjoy those things. How are we going to address the fact that we are older now and we can’t take health for granted? Most people like the idea of living longer and having the opportunity to learn new things and have great experiences. Most people don’t look in the mirror and say, “You’ve got to plan for your health as much as you planned for your finances”.
So, for those contemplating retirement, just getting into it, or enjoying it without a consideration of your healthspan, here are five ways to start the process of giving yourself a great chance of having retirement turn out the way you want.
1. Get a thorough checkup from the doctor, the one you’ve been putting off. Never mind if you feel just fine and don’t think you need it. The biggest killers in this country are still heart disease and stroke. Both can be brewing for quite some time without any symptoms whatsoever. I have a 63 year old brother who was competing in martial arts, earning three black belts and 12 trophies in the last few years. He felt great. Until he was felled like a tree from a major stroke. He hadn’t had a checkup in several years. That particular stroke might have been prevented if he had had his heart checked and the doctor had found the warning signs that were there. Make that appointment.
2. Get a checkup from your dentist too. There is a relationship between the condition of one’s oral health and overall health, research shows. “Periodontal treatment must be recommended on the basis or the value of its benefits for the oral health of patients, recognizing that patients are not healthy without good oral health.” (Journal of The American Dental Association, Oct., 2006.)
3. Change your eating habits. Every one of us can improve something about our food intake. If work had you on the go all the time, eating fast food or heavy restaurant meals too often, now you have the opportunity to change that. Food habits are totally within your control. And they are a major contributor to chronic illnesses, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and many others. Your retirement can mean turning over a new leaf in terms of what you eat. Whether you want to give up an unhealthy habit like sugary drinks or try foods that are good for you but take longer to prepare, retirement can give you a great starting point to do better than ever.
4. Start a new exercise plan if you don’t have one already. It doesn’t have to be trying for a tennis championship or running a marathon. It can be as simple as starting a walking program for 15 minutes a day and gradually increasing it. All you need is the will to do it, a good pair of walking shoes designed for that purpose and a place to go when the weather is inclement. Mall walking is popular in places where the weather is not conducive to walking outside. Treadmills and stationary bikes remain the most popular kinds of exercise equipment . Buy yourself one and you’ll have no excuses. In my house, we have both a bike and a treadmill. If it’s rainy or too cold outside, my husband and I turn on the TV and put in some time on the equipment. One nice thing about exercising at home is, it doesn’t matter how you look or what you wear. In case you think you’re too old for such things, imagine this: my 91 year old mother in law with bad knees still walks 20 times back and forth in the community pool almost every day.
5. Find your purpose in retirement. Your mental wellness is just as important as your physical wellness and it doesn’t happen by magic. Having a sense of purpose in what you do with this phase of your life is a cornerstone of your emotional health. It’s something you have to think about and decide upon. It rarely falls in your lap. As you look within, and consider what makes you happy, what you’re drawn to or what you can do to make the world better, you will find it. Forming your intention to find purpose is the first step. If you haven’t retired yet, this is a critical piece of your planning. If you’re already retired and thinking you might have too much time on your hands, you can focus on what will give your life meaning and then go after it. As with what it took to get to retirement in the first place, you need a plan.
If you are thinking about retiring, have a target date or just want to dream, consider how to make your plans a happy reality. Your sense of purpose may not be clear yet. Dr. Davis can help you find it with his personalized 4 hour Successful Retirement Planner package. You get his one-on-one advice by phone or Skype and you’re off to a mentally healthy start! CLICK HERE to request yours.
Until next time,
Carolyn and Dr. Mikol