Retirement is a goal that most people hope to achieve someday. Many give it little serious thought when they are young, and in good health. It is something to think about occasionally, but no real plan is generally developed.
Current estimates say that approximately 10,000 people retire daily in the United States of America. Many have never developed a workable plan for their financial needs upon retirement.
A healthy retirement is given even less thought! Some may feel that a healthy retirement is not even possible.
Are you among those for whom a healthy retirement seems unattainable? Do you feel that focusing on today’s problems is enough to consider?
If so, let me encourage you to reconsider.
It is very possible to have a solid plan to enjoy a healthy retirement. That does not mean that you may never be ill, but it will increase the likelihood that you will be as healthy as you can possibly be.
Medical science has proven that many illnesses can be prevented, or their effects lessened. The list includes High Blood pressure, Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, Shingles, Hepatitis B, Influenza, and Pneumococcal diseases.
In many cases, these disorders are linked to lifestyle issues. Yes, family history plays an important part in predicting the future of our health, however,it does not always guarantee that we will suffer with the same illnesses as others in our family.
You can fight back if you know your family history, and how these diseases can be prevented !
So, what can you do to be healthy in body and mind during retirement? Here are seven must do’s to help you win the battle:
1.Evaluate your current health.
This will mean a visit to your physician to get a complete physical examination. You will also need to have a frank discussion with your health professional about any test results that may be negative. Ask what the results mean, and how you improve the outcome for the future.
For some this may be scary to find out what is. However, ignorance is not bliss in healthcare. Knowledge is power, as the saying goes. If you know what is true, you can then take appropriate action.
2.Be determined to make your health a priority.
As with everything else in life, what we focus on, is what we tend to cultivate, and nurture. Things that we ignore tend to slip our attention, over time. So, if we want to have a healthy retirement, we need to focus on this, and give it our full attention.
Spend at least five minutes each day reflecting on your health. What is your goal, and what did you do to reach this goal? For example, exercising for 20 minutes each day may be your goal. Did you achieve this, or did you not? If you did, give yourself a pat on the back for your dedication. If you did not, determine what went wrong, and how you can fix this in the future.
3.Write down what you hope your health will be when you retire.
Be very specific. It is a powerful fact, that when you put your goals in writing, you increase the opportunity for them to become a reality. Instead of writing, “ I want to be healthy when I retire- write instead, “ I want to weigh 150 pounds (or whatever is right for you)”.
Do you have a target for your activity level? For example-do you want to travel?
Put your answers in writing, and refer to them frequently.
4.Read more about health issues from reputable sources.
Unfortunately, not everything we read is necessarily true. It is therefore important to investigate your source of information. Enlist the help of your health professional, in locating a trusted resource. Check out the credentials of this source, and their experience with the subject being discussed.
Several well known universities, hospitals, and clinics publish health related topics online. An example is The Mayo Clinic,WebMD,or JohnsHopkinsMedicine.
5.Decide to begin your healthy lifestyle today.
It is so easy to make plans but never accomplish them. If you do not begin now, procrastination may block you from reaching your goal.
Take control of your future, and keep the promises that you make to yourself.
Make a step today, and another tomorrow. Nothing ventured nothing gained, should be your motto. You could begin today, for example, by making a phone call to your doctor to schedule an appointment for a checkup (see #1).
Your future begins today.
6.Seek the support of a trusted friend, family member, health professional, or spiritual leader.
Ask that individual to hold you accountable for the changes that you are determined to make toward a healthy retirement. Meet with them on a regular basis, e.g. monthly.
Review your progress toward your goal. Let them know what you want to accomplish, and what they can do to help you.
Let them know that you need them to ask you pointed questions about your progress, or lack thereof.
Be sure to choose someone who can be firm, but kind in helping to motivate you toward your goal. You may even choose to meet with friends who are also looking forward to a healthy retirement.
The key here is someone who can give you honest feedback, not just what you may want them to say.
7.Be kind to yourself, but be realistic.
You will meet challenges, setbacks, and roadblocks along the way. You are making a long term commitment to a healthier lifestyle.
The key ingredient is to not give up.
Each step that you make, however small, will be important in getting you to your goal.
Sure, you may have illnesses along the way, however, you will be doing what you can to influence your future health.
You are increasing the likelihood that future illnesses, and conditions may not be as severe as they could be.
It is also possible to bypass some illnesses altogether!
A healthy retirement is possible for more of us than we think. If we improve our lifestyle today, we are helping to preserve our health in the future.
Following these seven steps will propel you to a healthy future, and a healthy retirement.