6 healthy habits to cultivate in retirement

Stay healthy in retirement with these six habits designed to support your physical and mental health.

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You’re getting ready to retire. Congratulations! Retirement is an exciting season of life. But with a very different schedule than you’re used to, it could be all too easy to find yourself falling into a lifestyle that’s not healthy physically or emotionally.

You’ve worked hard to achieve your retirement — don’t squander it now. Stay healthy in retirement by following these six good habits.

  • 1

    Create a new routine

    When your calendar is suddenly blank, it might be tempting to throw away the routine you followed when you were still working. However, this might do you more harm than good.

     

    If you don’t have a set bedtime, and you no longer use an alarm clock, your sleep rhythm could become negatively affected which might also affect your mealtimes and your overall physical health. Consider giving yourself a set bedtime each night and get out of bed at the same time each morning.

     

    A steady routine can benefit your mental health too. And don’t let the word “routine” scare you away, your retirement schedule could be as simple as exercising in the morning, running errands in the afternoon and enjoying dinner with friends at night.

  • 2

    Keep your blood pumping

    Incorporate regular exercise into your life to improve your balance and strength, reduce your risk of heart disease and help your bones stay strong. You might want to try the following activities:

    • Tennis

    • Walking or hiking

    • Dance

    • Water aerobics or swimming

    • Biking

    • Taking your grandkids or dog to the park

    • Yoga

     

    As a bonus, many physical activities are a great way to create space for a social life too. Look for a local exercise class that can teach you a new activity or skill and help you connect with others.

     

    As you exercise, make sure to fuel yourself with adequate hydration and keep an eye on the temperature — you don’t want to overheat. A proper warm-up and cooldown before and after physical activity can also help prevent injury. And remember to consult your doctor before starting any new physical routine.

  • 3

    Allow yourself to be creative

    Make a point to get creative. Research has shown that participating in creative activities could support the well-being of senior adults. Creativity can even lead to a longer life, making this one of the healthiest habits for longevity! 

     

    Creative activities to try might include:

    • Gardening

    • Painting or drawing

    • Singing

    • Redecorating your house

    • Taking and editing photos

    • Pottery

    • Arts and crafts

    • Participating in a local play or musical

    • Writing poetry or stories

    • Learning to play an instrument

     

    A creative hobby benefits your mental and emotional health and makes for a fun way to pass the time. Get your grandchildren in on the fun if they live nearby.

  • 4

    Rely on your friends

    The relationships and friendships in your life can play a big role in your overall health and well-being. Friendships decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation, helping you live longer and feel more fulfilled.

     

    Meet a friend for lunch or coffee once a week. Don’t leave without getting your next get-together on the calendar. If you’re having trouble finding friends, join a local class based around one of the creative activities or types of exercise listed above.

  • 5

    Practice mindfulness and self-care

    Strengthen your mental and physical health with mindfulness and self-care. Retirement might bring unexpected emotional challenges, such as boredom or loneliness. Mindfulness can help promote a healthy retirement.

     

    To put mindfulness into practice, use all of your senses throughout the day. Focus on tasting the flavors in the food you eat, feeling the soft fur of a pet or breathing in a lungful of the fresh morning air.

     

    Self-care are things that helps you take care of your physical and emotional well-being. This will look different for everybody and will likely vary day by day or week by week depending on your changing needs. Take the time to do the things you know will improve your physical and mental health.

  • 6

    Take time to adjust to retirement

    Many people find purpose in their career not only because they’re earning money, but also because of the social aspect. If you’re having trouble adjusting to retirement, consider easing into it with a part-time job. Perhaps you could work as a secretary, a substitute teacher, or turn one of your hobbies into a small business.

     

    Other retirees enjoy volunteering at their local hospital, animal shelter, or other organization. Ask around to find local nonprofits that could use a helping hand. Volunteering can provide a much-needed sense of purpose.

  • 7

    Stay healthy during retirement

    If you’re used to the hustle and bustle of a career, retirement is certainly a change of pace. Implementing these good retirement habits, can help you stay physically and mentally fit so you can enjoy your golden years to the fullest.

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