Staying Healthy after Retirement

2. Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire Managing Retirement in the Twenty First Century

Keeping ourselves fit and healthy is important throughout our life. We owe this to ourselves. Fitness becomes even more important post retirement.

Those who are fit, feel better about themselves for a variety of reasons. In turn, this translates into a better self-image and enhanced self-confidence. These qualities have a positive effect in both your personal and professional lives. For these reasons, I would encourage everyone to strongly consider putting together a fitness program for yourself.

Exercise

Before you start a fitness program, especially those who have lived a sedentary lifestyle for an extended period of time, please consult a physician. Starting a vigorous exercise regime may not be wise and you could hurt or injure yourself.

Once your doctor has given you clearance, start setting goals. Goals are uniquely personal and whether your goal is to lose 5 kilos or complete a marathon, setting goals are important. Write your goal down and the period in which you want to achieve this goal and promise yourself a reward if you achieve your objective. Consider enlisting the services of a personal trainer or a work-out buddy to help you stay focused and encouraged.

Make exercise a part of your daily life, try to get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 5 times a week. You do not necessarily have to go to a gym to work towards your fitness goal. A morning walk, and that too with friends in the neighbourhood can be a very enjoyable experience that keeps you fit as well. Just make sure that you don’t end your morning walk at the local “chai wallah” where you have chai and samosa after your walk.

Try to spend less time in front of the television and more time outside. Consider purchasing an exercise machine for your house that you can use while you watch television or join a neighbourhood gym. Such machines can be great investments, but only if used on a consistent basis though most people I know who own such machines use them for a few weeks and then these are used to “hang the towels” after a shower! A very expensive clothes drier indeed.

We have the time when we retire. We can take the time to walk or cycle to the market instead of driving. This is a great way to get your blood flowing and accomplish your errands at the same time. Walking or cycling can be easy or difficult depending on where you live, but many people can fit it into their routine if they are willing to expend a little time and effort.

If you are lucky enough to have a small child or grandchild in your family, you can schedule time to take them to nearby parks and other outdoor activities. It’s a lot of work to keep up with small children, and you’ll work up a sweat in no time.

Housework is painful, but it needs to be done. Work at home can help burn off excess calories. Vacuuming, washing dishes and other household chores will keep you moving. It’s much better to move around in the house than watch TV from the couch.

If you have access to a gym you must work out 45 minutes a day, five days a week. You also need to do light weights to maintain your muscles. Swimming, yoga, walking and other forms of exercise are equally good. What is important is to get into a routine that you follow consistently.

Exercising for a few days and then taking a few weeks off is not what I would call “regular exercise”! Doctors believe that working out for 6 days a week could add upto 2 years to your life.

There are many little things you can do which can change your level of fitness.

Think fitness every day and you will see and feel the results

Stress

Retirement is supposed to be the time when you relax. Managing your stress is critical to stay fit.

Retirement is a time when you are older and wiser and have the answers to many of life’s questions. A lot of retirees are stressed for a multitude of reasons. With ageing come new concerns, such as managing the increased time you spend at home and with your spouse, your health, making sure that your money does not run out in retirement and managing the stresses of your children.

In addition, of course, there is a general sense of “loss.”

Based on discussions with some doctors I have listed down a few points that could help in managing stress. Of course, if the problem is acute, you should consult a doctor and medication may be required.

  • Identify the cause of your stress. Write it down and find a solution to put your mind at ease. Discuss this with your friends and see how they are coping with their stresses.
  • Find a story that inspires you. Take some time to read and make notes of your learning. Then see how you can handle your own stress.
  • Learn to meditate. Practice deep breathing until you find yourself becoming calm. It is easier to do this when you think about things in life you are most thankful for.
  • Switch to your regular routine. If you enjoy spending time in a mall browsing, do that. Malls always offer something new and different. You can simply enjoy the ambience, the shops, and the interesting people who walk by.
  • Be purposeful about taking care of yourself. Enjoy some time outdoors to lift your mood and refresh your spirit.

You must learn to let go. Release the stress.

You were never in control anyway.

Regular medical checkups

I have often met people who refuse to get medical tests done. When asked the reason, their answer is that they do not wish to know what their health related problems are. Not getting your tests done because you are don’t wish to know your problems is a short sighted approach to living a long time in retirement.

Do you have a lifestyle disease like blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes? Are you asthmatic? Do you have any other problems for which you are taking regular medication?

Make sure you know what your health related issues are. Pull out all your old health reports you must have filed away carefully and write down your parameters to understand your own body and its challenges.

If you have a chronic condition, it is worth your while to schedule a test every quarter or every half year as recommended by your doctor.

Your doctor will advise you on what medication you need to take on a regular basis and how often you need to get your tests done.

On the other hand, given today’s commercialization of the healthcare, your doctor may recommend that you take several tests that may not even be relevant. Be very careful when your doctor recommends very expensive tests.

Get a complete medical checkup done when you retire. Remember that no one can monitor your health better than yourself.

*******************

The author is an Executive Coach and an Angel Investor. A keen political observer, he is also the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies. He is the author of 5 best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye; The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur.

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