A lot of people take the attitude that as they get older their health is sure to decline, seeing retirement as a time to take things slowly and accept that age is limiting.
However, there is no reason that this has to be the case. Retirement is a great opportunity to do all the things you previously didn’t have time to do, and to really take careful care of your health so that you’re in a good position to do them.
If you have always exercised and eaten well you are likely to continue to do so into old age and perhaps could just do with making a few tweaks to your lifestyle. If you haven’t the thought of starting to do so as you retire may be daunting.
A healthy attitude is worth the effort; here are a few steps to help you start living a healthy life in retirement:
Your diet is very important to keep you at your healthiest, but especially as you age this can mean resistance to illness and disease, mental sharpness, better energy levels, and management of any existing illness.
This needn’t mean punishing yourself however – this is your opportunity to enjoy yourself after all! You now have the time to cook from scratch, so sticking to healthy home cooked meals instead of takeaways or ready meals is important to monitor what you are actually eating. You don’t have to stop eating puddings and the odd portion of chips, but have these unhealthy foods in moderation.
It is very important to make sure you are eating a lot of vegetables – get a full range with lots of different colours, and try out new and exciting ways to cook them. Who wants a bland side of boiled peas and carrots with their dinner?
Protein is important, but eating a large amount of red meat isn’t good for you. Try chicken, fish, beans, nuts, eggs and seeds to get your protein fix as well. Avoid bad carbohydrates like white flour and refined sugar, and look for wholemeal alternatives to bread and pasta.
Cut down on drinking
There is nothing wrong with having an alcoholic drink with your dinner; and indeed some research suggests that a glass of red wine a day could be beneficial for your health.
However, drinking to excess as you age isn’t sensible. Now you don’t have the responsibility of a job it could seem all too tempting to spend more time with friends in the local pub. It’s good to socialise, but make sure you alternate soft drinks with alcohol. Too much alcohol damages the liver, heart and brain, so it’s important to keep an eye on what you’re drinking to avoid serious health problems developing.
It does become harder to exercise as you age, and especially if you haven’t been active up to now the thought of starting to exercise may well be terrifying.
This needn’t be the case however. Beginning with walking is a good start – if you are very unfit consider getting off the bus a stop or two early, or walking to your local shop instead of driving. Gradually you can slowly build up to walking longer distances.
If you suffer with problems like arthritis, swimming is a great way to exercise that avoids putting pressure on your joints. Unless you have severe health problems you should be able to find a form of exercise that suits your level of fitness and health.
Cut out smoking
You might think that if you have smoked for years there is no point in giving up in old age, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Whilst you may have already done some damage to your body, the sooner you stop the more your health will improve.
Everyone knows that smoking causes lung cancer – with around 90% of cases being caused by smoking. However it can result in a multitude of other unpleasant health problems besides these, affecting eyesight, brain function, hearing, your heart and more. Do you want to enjoy your retirement or be plagued by avoidable health problems? It’s time to do whatever you can to quit smoking.
This guest post was contributed by. She is writing on behalf of Solihull Care, a company that provide high quality nursing homes in Birmingham and the surrounding areas.
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