You have spent decades developing, researching, and tinkering with your retirement plan. You have managed your money carefully, saving the maximum in your company-sponsored retirement plans as well as investing wisely in Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), and you determined how to have a consistent, predictable income stream once you stop working. So, you are all set, right? Not so fast! While we all envision our retirement differently, there is little doubt that good health is as important as a good nest egg if you want to thrive during your golden years.
Being fit and healthy in retirement is best initiated with good habits at younger ages, but it is never too late to modify your lifestyle to improve health. Firstly, schedule an appointment with your doctor to assess your current level of health, nutrition, and fitness. Talk to him/her about any limiting physical conditions before embarking on a new exercise and nutrition plan. Once cleared for takeoff, you can ease into action. If you have been sedentary for a long-stretch, start with a simple morning walk, along with some gentle stretching. Remember, regular exercise, using proper form, decreases your risk of heart disease, obesity, and dementia.
Exercise does not have to be in a professional gym, nor does it have to be alone. One great way to start feeling better and gaining strength is to increase the length and time you spend walking. In addition to planned morning walks, take a stroll to the local store or library. Organize an afternoon or evening walk around your neighborhood, stopping off for a drink of water or tea. Get a group of friends together to take weekly nature walks in your area. Pack a healthy lunch of fruit and energy foods, like nuts, along with plenty of water; staying hydrated is one of the keys to improved health.
Of course, a gym or fitness camp may suit you just fine. These days, with an increasing awareness of the value of good health, there are opportunities in most towns to join a class at a gym or even in an outdoor setting with a professional trainer. Additionally, many of these opportunities are oriented for older persons, with special attention to the mobility and strength issues facing many seniors. If you go this route, find an instructor who listens to your issues and desires; work with him/her to develop a program suited to your own needs.
A gigantic cost in our retirement is health-care. We cannot prevent accidents nor can we turn off the aging process. We can, however, improve our strength, flexibility, and cardio-vascular endurance. Exercise, combined with proper nutrition, is part of a high-quality life. In addition to the physical benefits, regular exercise and proper nutrition also helps battle depression, which can be acute in retirement. In your golden years, exercise translates to more time moving around enjoying one’s self, and less time in doctor’s offices, hospital beds, and at the pharmacy. Your retirement plan is about you; make sure health and fitness are a central part of the plan.
Dick Van Dyke is a nationally recognized financial educator with many years in the industry. To find out more tips and strategies to bettr prepare for your Golden Years, please visit.