3 minute read
Retirement can change up your routine big time. Gone are the days of the stressful work week – now, you have a lot of free time to eat, sit, watch TV, and be sedentary. But retirement doesn’t have to be a health pitfall. You can maintain your wellness habits, or make new ones, when you step into the retirement phase of life with these few tips on how to stay healthy during retirement.
1. Get Enough Sleep. Chances are you’ll be in a new sleep cycle when you become a retiree. For years you’ve been getting up and going to bed around the same time several days a week for work. Your options now? Keep your sleep schedule the same or adjust it. The Mayo Clinic recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep for adults. Need help improving your sleep? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests consistency is key. Go to bed and wake-up at the same time 7 days a week. Make sure your bedroom is quiet and comfortable for you, which includes no electronic devices in the space. Find which schedule works for you during this new stage in life.
2. Feed Yourself Nourishing Foods. “The link between good nutrition and healthy weight, reduced chronic disease risk, and overall health is too important to ignore,” says the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). A good starting point for choosing what to eat is selecting foods low in added sugar, saturated fat and sodium, outlined by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Center For Nutrition. What you put in your body is one of the most important decisions you can make when it comes to your health. If you do decide your diet needs a tune-up, keep in mind your eating choices are specific to you. “There is no single, fit-for-all diet for everyone,” said Frank Hu in Harvard Gazette’s To Age Better, Eat Better. Hu is a professor of nutrition and epidemiology and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “People should adopt healthy dietary patterns according to their food and cultural preferences and health conditions.”
3. Laugh. That’s right – chuckle, guffaw, giggle. Whichever it is, laugh. Laughing is not only enjoyable, but it has numerous health benefits. The Mayo Clinic states laughter can release tension and improve your immune system. So find some funny jokes, read an amusing book, watch a silly movie, whatever it takes to make you chuckle. Seek out humor in your day.
4. Exercise. Exercise and mental health go hand in hand. A study by The National Institutes of Health (NIH), Research Matters indicates that exercise plays a role in regulating our moods, such as helping with depression. Not to mention, exercise is great for staying healthy both mentally and physically (by reducing risk of certain types of diseases). And exercise doesn’t have to mean going to a gym. It can involve gentle exercises like swimming in a pool or even walking. And Harvard researchers are learning the many benefits of exercises such as tai chi, helping to promote balance and mobility, potentially reducing falls. The U.S. Dept. of HHS recommends at least 2 and a half hours to 5 hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. For more intense aerobic activity, reduce it to 1 hour and 15 minutes or up to 2 and a half hours.
5. Hobbies. No one wants to sit around all day with nothing to do. Or maybe you do, and if so, this won’t apply. But for those who do like to fill their days with activities, try picking up a new hobby. Write weekly letters or emails to friends. Go for daily walks. Play an instrument. Learn something new. Join a book club. Take a cooking class. Teach a cooking class. Volunteer. The possibilities really are endless.
Incorporating one of these five health practices is good, but utilizing all of them is even better – not to mention a great step to having an enjoyable retirement experience.
Mayo Clinic, How Many Hours of Sleep Are Enough for Good Health? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/how-many-hours-of-sleep-are-enough/faq-20057898
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Are You Getting Enough Sleep? CDC.gov is your online source for credible health information and is the official Website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). https://www.cdc.gov/features/sleep/index.html
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Importance of Good Nutrition
United States Department of Agriculture, My Plate
The Harvard Gazette, To Age Better, Eat Better
Mayo Clinic, Stress Relief from Laughter? It’s No Joke
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Matters, Physical Activity May Reduce Depression Symptoms
The Harvard Gazette, The Balance in Healthy Aging
U.S. Department of Health & Humans Services, Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans