Most of us have a vision of retirement that includes activities such as travel, engaging in our favourite hobbies and perhaps the odd round of golf. These activities, and indeed life itself, will be far more enjoyable if we are able to attain the level of fitness and well-being required to enjoy our life choices in retirement.
Research in the past has identified significant psychological benefits to be gained from taking simple steps to maintain our health in retirement.
In this latest instalment of the reflections blog we show you three of the most important ways to proactively maintain your health through exercise, diet and regular medical check-ups.
proactive health maintenance
There is little doubt that some of us are naturally health conscious and have probably always engaged in activities designed to promote good health. For others however, it can mean a complete change in routine and lifestyle.
It has long been known that exercise can contribute to lowering levels of stress no matter what your age. For some people exercise will be a daily half an hour walk around the block, while for others it may include regular workouts at the gym.
While exercise plays an important role in maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle, diet and controlling what food you choose to put in your mouth is equally just as – if not even more improtant. For some people it might be as easy as replacing animal fats in cooking or not adding salt or sugar to foods and drinks.
did you know…
Retirement related depression is significantly lower than amongst people who monitored their diet compare to those who ate whatever they wanted.
Don’t forget to see your doctor. We can all shout it from the rooftops until we’re blue in the face however for some people the fear of the unknown remains too high a hurdle to climb. Book an appointment with a general practitioner.
No doubt the person, who discovers the switch that motivates all of us to exercise and diet, will become fabulously wealthy overnight. Sometimes the problem lies in the seemingly hopeless task of getting our present physical condition to those many kilos lighter. For others, it comes down to food preparation habits built up over a lifetime.
motivating myself to exercise
For those people who are not naturally athletic or interested in participating in sport, exercise regimes can be boring at best and intimating at worst.
If you do not relish the thought of joining a gym, then consider more pleasing activities such as a regular brisk walk through a park or around the block of some tree-lined streets.
Other reluctant exercisers keep themselves honest by pairing up with someone for a half an hour walk at specific times. Knowing that you have to meet someone at a specified time then helps you get out of bed in the morning. The key is to discover what motivates YOU and commit to trying it for a minimum period.
Our tip – Maximise your likelihood of persevering at exercise you need to find something that makes it as enjoyable a possible to participate.
motivating myself to diet
The two issues with diet relate to ‘what’ and ‘how much’ – both seemingly easy to handle but for many people very difficult. The problem is that many of us take an all or nothing approach to dieting.
Promising never to eat junk food again or to permanently give up salt, sugar and fried food is probably unrealistic unless you have superb will-power or have been catapulted into action by a medical crisis.
It is sometimes easier to start one step at a time. For example, if you have a diet high in salt or sugar, resolve to stop adding them to food and drinks. Once you have become used to not adding salt and sugar, move on to something else such as replacing animal fats like butter with olive oil when cooking and shalow frying food instead of deep-frying if indeed frying is necessary at all.
Apart from what we eat, many of us eat too much. There is quite a delay between eating and ‘feeling full’ so the temptation can be to continue eating until the feeling of fullness catches up – of course, by this time we have gone to far. Waiting a while before moving on to the next course can help as does drinking water with our food.
motivating myself to have an annual medical check-up
Having an annual medical check-up is incredibly important. There have been numerous stories of people discovering potentially fatal issues and resolving them quickly.
Unfortunately some serious illnesses remain symptom free during their early stages and without screening, may go on to develop into a problem that is far more difficult to treat.
There are a number of reasons that people give for not having regular medical check-ups. Without symptoms to shake us into action, it is often something that falls into the ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ category. Some people even avoid medical check-ups in case something is found – at a human level this is understandable butb it does not stand up to close scrutiny as a valid excuse.
Finally, there is what many refer to as the ‘bloke syndrome’. For some reason, men, as a group, tended to be more squeamish when it cam to having medical examinations. A number of male participants in the research admitted that they had only had a medical check-up after being repeatedly pushed into it by their wives. Having then had the check up most confirmed that it had eased their minds and they they would continue to do so on a regular basis,
ipac insight – Depression levels have been found to be significantly reduced amongst those who considered all three related activities.
As well as keeping our bodies healthy, it’s also important to keep your finances in order. Speak to your financial adviser today or phone 1800 626 881 for further information.