A FEW SIMPLE HABITS CAN HELP YOU STAY HEALTHY LONGER
As financial specialists, we spend much of our time and energy thinking about, talking about, and planning for our clients’ financial health. But if you’re in or approaching retirement, there’s a lot more to think about than just money.
Of course, your financial health is important to your future, but looking after your general health is just as critical, particularly as you age. With that, and this recent New York Times article in mind, we would encourage you to consider a few common-sense habits that can help you to slow the decline of mind and body as you get older.
Though we’ve all heard it before, even small movements toward better eating habits can lower risk of many diseases associated with aging, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and many cancers. Despite a revolving door of fad diets and supplements making promises, there’s no magic formula for perfect eating, but your body will thank you if you follow a few common-sense basics:
- Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein
- Avoid processed meats
- Avoid excess salt and sugar
- Avoid packaged foods
Move your body
Regular exercise, besides being one of the keys to our physical and mental wellbeing, is also one of the ways we stay strong enough to maintain our independence in old age. Exercise can also prevent some chronic conditions as we age, such as heart disease and diabetes, and provide relief from symptoms of others, such as arthritis and depression. Incorporate some higher-intensity exercise for short periods into your schedule, and some weight training, which helps maintain cardiovascular health, muscle mass and bone density. Exercise is also good for balance, something that often deteriorates with age. Stay active doing something you enjoy, because you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
Use your brain
There are currently 564,000 Canadians currently living with some form of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, with 25,000 new dementia cases diagnosed every year. While it’s normal to have some cognitive decline as you age, keeping your mind active and challenged may help to slow the decline. Almost anything can help keep the mind active, from art classes or dance lessons, learning a new language or simply reading a book. Take up creative writing, volunteer, or keep working on a part-time basis. A regular yoga class may help too, as many who practice show improved mood and memory, better balance and depth perception.
Maintain and make new connections
It’s vital that you stay in touch with family and friends, and form new relationships, especially later in life. Research shows that strong relationships are an important factor in good health and living longer. Unfortunately, various events happen as we age, such as retirement, the loss of a spouse or health issues, that can lead to isolation and loneliness. It’s as simple as volunteering, attending church or joining a club, or just making the time to meet friends for coffee once in a while.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The old adage is never truer than when you’re talking about health and aging. Of course, no list of preventative health measures would be complete without the addition of “get enough sleep”, “wear sunblock” and “stop smoking”. But just as important as those health basics, the reminder to have your annual physical is equally important. Even if you’re feeling great, book an exam with your doctor, and check in with your health once a year. Regular screenings can act as your body’s early warning system, and help catch a disease in its early stages, and stop it in its tracks before treatment is difficult or invasive.
Just as there are steps to be taken to ensure good health in retirement, there are also steps that can be taken to mitigate risk to your financial health in retirement. A clearer view to your retirement plan can significantly improve your financial health. Please contact your Tall Oak Raymond James financial advisor for more information about how to create your personalized Retirement View.