Health & Wellness Articles

Transition into a Healthy Retirement

Retirement Can Be A Renaissance

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Once upon a time there was a distinguished politician who went into retirement after a long career of hectic schedules, important tasks, and continual limelight. After hanging around the house for the first week of his new-found freedom, he was gently chastised by his wife, who informed him that she had married him for better or worse, but not for lunch.

Do you also need some help making the transition from busy worker bee to busy retiree? The journey from working to retiring is one of life’s great transitions-- even if you’ve planned for it and are already looking forward to it. A time of delicate decisions and scary new possibilities, retirement can feel both exhilarating and confusing. Choices made now will reverberate through the rest of your life. Choices about fitness and nutrition may be the most important of all.

How will you spend your time, and what do you want to do on a typical day? What do you want to learn, and what do you want to teach? Where and how will you live? Is it possible now to resurrect some of the dreams and goals you’ve deferred? As you plan the rest of your life, incorporating your beliefs, values, and commitments, be sure to give proper attention to your physical well-being. If you’re in good shape, great! You’ll want to maintain that valuable condition. If not, there’s no better time to make healthy changes. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Physical activity is more important than ever.
  • If you’re not interested in joining a formal fitness program, you can stay physically active in other ways: bowling, fishing, gardening, biking, or community projects that require elbow grease.
  • If you are interested in a formal fitness program, find out if local churches, recreation centers, or civic associations offer classes and activities for seniors, especially since they may also offer discounts.
  • To limber your limbs—and to maintain at least one activity that’s free, low-risk, and convenient almost anywhere—try to walk or jog 20-30 minutes, three to five times a week.
  • Partner up with a fitness buddy—someone who’s as serious as you about fitness. Make your exercise regimen a good excuse to maintain friendships, or renew old ties that you missed when you were tethered to the workday world.
  • Consider making strength training a priority—it offers numerous benefits for seniors, such as increasing energy levels throughout the day, reducing stress and anxiety, delaying or preventing age-related disorders, and enhancing sleep, balance, endurance, and flexibility. Continued ›
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About The Author

Rebecca Pratt Rebecca Pratt
A freelance writer who contributes to various newspapers and magazines, Becky loves covering ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Member Comments

  • Enjoyed reading all the comments as I contemplate my renaissance!! Hoping to make the right decision! - 1/22/2012 5:38:16 PM
  • BAMAJAM
    Great comment from DoreenKnight64 -- that she married her husband for lunch also!

    Sharing every meal with my husband would be wonderful. He is that kind of guy-- and I am so very fortunate to have married him. He stays busy in retirement, always working on some project. We both enjoy time with our grandchildren, and taking hikes on nature trails. Retirement well planned can be a very pleasant experience. - 9/22/2010 12:38:48 PM
  • My parents during their retirement - dad does small business, keeping his mind active, mom's helping him and one time, both did veggie garden (mostly my mom and she got more tanned, hehe). My mom also does more tasks around the house, I think also getting creative on her sewing! - 9/12/2010 8:50:39 AM
  • SHERI1969
    I sent this article to my parents. My father has been retired just over a year now. Both are working out at a gym together, but they do face a lot of new challenges, including financially. I hope they get some good ideas from it. - 4/8/2010 3:03:21 PM
  • My parents are in their mid 70's. I plan to be active like them. They still go to the gym twice per week. lol Can you imagine the granny wear. lol They are always moving and that creates a great attitude and that is the way it should be, don't you think! - 3/27/2010 10:03:40 PM
  • Loved this article! I have been retired for almost 9 years and my husband for the past 6. We tell people that the best thing about being retired is that we get to do the things we want to do, not just the things we have to do!! My husband has always loved to cook and was our "weekend chef" for many years as our family was growing up. When he retired he told me that he wasn't interested in doing the cleaning/laundry stuff, but he could do all the cooking if I was interested! It was "hard" for me the first year, and I do occassionally prepare a meal for us, but I have learned to enjoy not having to plan the meals or clean up after them--he does it all and loves it! He even brings my coffee to me each morning--am I one lucky gal, or what!? We do have our separate interests, but enjoy being together as well. I am the one who needs to lose the weight, and he is a great encourager to me...even learning to not use quite as much salt when he cooks now! We enjoy our days of retirement, and as we've heard for many years...we are busier now than we ever were...and love it! - 3/26/2010 10:27:31 PM
  • I read this article back in 2007. Today it is more practical than ever as I'm considering retirement in a few years (65 now) and am approaching it with a bit of trepidation. - 3/26/2010 12:00:43 PM
  • DINAMIC
    Thanks Rebecca it is a very estimulating article, it is exactly what I started doing, exercise and nutrition because I am planning to retired this year. I'm already jointed the Sinior Citizen club. The membership allowed me to go to water exercises three times per week . The other activities that I do not enjoy do to my job. - 5/6/2009 8:00:52 PM
  • I have been dissabled and unable to work for just over three years now. I can honestly say that soemthmes there are not enough hours in the day. I find I have to keep active asI have a low boredom threshold and I can alwaysfind things to occupy myself with. I feel it is so important to do as much as possible, not only for my health's sake but to keep from becoming lethargic and eventua;;y incapable of doing anything. Ok, my circumstances are slightly diffeent in that if I don't do some activity I will eventually be unable to do things as my medical condition is such that it is likely to deterioorate if I don't. However, I would not use this as an excuse as I have to keep active. That way it makes life interesting and each day worth getting up for as you never kow just exactly what is going to be thrown at you despite all the well made plans. There is always a curveball somewhere along the way and this keeps you on your toes and up for anything. I totally agree with this blog as it is extremely apt. - 5/6/2009 11:42:57 AM
  • JIMINYC
    I retired in December at 59. It was something I always looked forward to and I love it but it still is an adjustment in every way. I'm amazed at how much less money I'm living on and not feeling deprived at all. I resisted going out and getting another job right away which I really felt driven to do, worried about money and feeling guilty to not be working like everybody else. Am finding the ways I want to fill my time. I made sure to move first to a nice little town that's very friendly to walking and biking so that's a really enjoyable part of my new life. I planned everything out, but that's how I do things. Some things don't turn out the way you planned (40lk) but oh well, making do with less can be fun. - 5/6/2009 9:50:43 AM
  • Three years ago, I decided to leave my 60 hr per week job and find something a little less stressful. The biggest hurdle there was that my stressful job paid well and we managed to spentd as we earned. I won an administrtive job working 48 hours per fortnight, with a great reduction in pay, and managed to live on those earnings, I reached retirement age last December and now still work at the same job however have managed to reduce my hours to 20 hours per week, and I love the freedom it has given me. I never had time to join a gym and enjoy regular visits since joining in December 2008, I don;t have much spare time through choice, as I am now a volunteer ESOL tutor and have 3 students and having 6 grandchildren and Photshop on my computer, keeps me busy, playing around with their photos. I think life begins at retirement!!!!! - 5/6/2009 1:07:23 AM
  • I retired on Feb. 27, 2009 at the age of 53. I was retired for a total of 5 weeks and went back to work 30 hours a week, four days a week. I really enjoyed my time off and relaxed and did more exercising and better eating. I am single and just was not ready to retire. However, my company went out-of-business and thank God I had enough time in to retire with full benefits. So, that is my story. Staying busy is the key. I enjoy my Friday's off now much more than I ever enjoyed working on Friday. LOL!!! - 5/5/2009 9:09:03 PM
  • As a new, young retiree, I have a lot to look forward too. Sleeping until I'm done, exercising every morning except Sunday, planning long trips and day trips, or no trips and just hanging out and doing what I feel like doing at the moment. I love the outdoors. I also like to read, paint, garden, bake, and do puzzles, and who knows, I may even pick up guitar playing or yoga classes again.

    For someone who was skeptical about retirement, I sure am loving it. - 5/5/2009 3:58:37 PM
  • I recently retired about a year now. I was ready,being a kindergaten teacher for 24 years.
    I am finding my way. I will start volunterring for The Ronald McDonald House soon.I am not one to stay at home all the time . I want to find other people who are in the same sitution and make new friends to hang out with and do things with. My husband is not very socially but I need social interaction and hope to make it happen. Wish me luck!!! - 5/5/2009 2:56:52 PM
  • FITKAT2010
    I am self-employed and an independent self-supportive woman. The buck stops here for sure.

    I am planning for my retirement and refuse to give valuable $$ to doctors and hospitals because I was lazy and overweight! I am changing the paradigm on re TIRE ment.

    Every day I am getting healthier and more fit. That is my health insurance! I am also planning to be actively involved in supporting myself financially until the last breath I take. - 5/5/2009 10:20:51 AM

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