Take These Steps to a Healthy Retirement

Retirees are shattering stereotypes by staying more physically active, mobile and empowered.

Retirement no longer is a life of shuffleboard in a retirement community — not that there’s anything wrong with that. Today’s retirees just want more.

As a matter of fact, one in four 65-year-olds today will live past the age of 90, and one in 10 past 95. In contrast, 100 years ago the average life expectancy was about 50 years.

If you’re on your way to retiring, here are a few ways you can stay healthy and enjoy the best years of your life.

Find a purpose

If your career defined you, it may be difficult to transition. Volunteer at a hospital or library, take part in your house of worship or tutor kids in school. Consider working part-time to keep your sense of purpose.

Adopt a best friend

Just 15 minutes with a pet can lower your blood pressure, heart rate and stress level. Over time, a faithful companion can help cut your cholesterol, fight depression and keep you active. The companionship alone is worth it.

Get out

An active lifestyle can keep you happier, help you live longer and lower your chances of dementia. Make friends, spend time with family, travel and reconnect with old friends. Social interaction is No. 1 in keeping your mind and body healthy.

Eat and drink right

As you age, nourishing your body and maintaining a healthy weight is important. As your metabolism slows down, you may not need as many calories, but you will need plenty of water.

Reduce alcohol and stop smoking

Several studies show that retirement leads to increased alcohol intake. Alcohol affects your immune system, brain, heart, pancreas and liver. Drink moderately, don’t give it up if you enjoy it, but monitor the amount.

No matter how long you’ve been smoking, quitting can improve your health, add more energy and years and save money.

Stay healthy

Regular medical checkups are essential. Keep up with recommended health screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, heart problems, colon cancer and more.

Exercise

Remember: An object in motion stays in motion. Being active boosts your health and helps you stay independent. Weights, yoga, walking, swimming or dancing helps build flexibility.

Keep your mind sharp

Read, do puzzles, play an instrument or pick up a hobby. Regular brain exercises improve your mental health and memory.

Get some sleep

With hormonal changes, many seniors find it hard to get enough sleep. Improve the odds by creating a better sleep environment. Keep your bedroom cool, quiet and dark, practice a bedtime ritual and stick to a regular bedtime.

Be safe

Household accidents are your worst enemy. Buy nonslip mats for your bathroom, fix frayed rugs and add handrails and anti-skid strips.

Intimacy

Physical changes can affect sex, but that’s not permanent. Focus your efforts on reconnecting and see a doctor for any medical problems.