Retire Just for the Health of It!

Last month, I participated in a fundraising walk to end an aggressive form of cancer. A very close friend of mine is a survivor; her tumor was discovered just in time.

It was a crisp, sunny fall day. Joanne, a mutual friend of ours, and I were walking together. It was a beautiful day, we agreed, but the circumstances that brought us there was not so beautiful.

Without good health, our life changes dramatically.

As we walked, we caught up on our lives by exchanging information about our families, work, plans for the weekend, and so on.

I told her about a presentation I was planning to deliver to individuals preparing to retire, “Planning For the Non-Financial Side of Retirement.” It is about sharing key aspects of retirement, beyond the financial ones, retirees need to be aware of and plan for.

Without awareness and planning, it is not uncommon for retirees to find themselves stuck in a space feeling unfulfilled, bored, and depressed.

It didn’t surprise me when Joanne, a nurse with more than 30 years of experience, asked if the presentation stressed the importance for retirees to focus on their health.

Retirement itself doesn’t affect health. It’s what one chooses to do in retirement that affects one’s health. What’s your plan?

It definitely does. Creating a plan for a lifestyle that contributes to good physical, emotional, and mental health is the overall goal for transitioning to this new phase in life.

She told me studies show, without a purposeful and active lifestyle, visits to the doctor and hospital stays increase exponentially after individuals retire.

According to the Harvard Health Blog, retirement is ranked tenth on the list of life’s 43 most stressful events. When researchers asked what makes retirement enjoyable, healthy and rewarding, four elements emerged:

  • Forge a new social network: Retirees leave careers, as well as daily contact with others. Establishing a social network is good for mental, emotional, and physical health.
  • Play: Golf, travel, dance, walk, yoga — whatever gets you moving!
  • Activate your creative side: Paint, garden, write, or start a business.
  • Keep learning: Learn a new language, or simply explore a subject that fascinates you.

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