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Good Health in Retirement

Good Health in Retirement

Elderly lady at home fitness

While we can get away with punishing our bodies when we’re young, it’s not a great idea to be treating them badly as we get older. If we can expect to live for another 20 – 30 years after leaving full time work, it seems blindingly obvious that we need to get serious about looking after our health if we want to enjoy these years.

Our health in our 60s – 70s and beyond is dependent on 3 factors:

  • Good genes
  • Good lifestyle
  • Good luck

There’s not much we can do about our genes, apart from suing our parents. However, there’s a lot we can do about our lifestyle, even if we’re in our 50s, 60s or 70s.

If we want to give ourselves the best chance of good health in later life, we need to take responsibility for our health and adopt a strategy of seeking “wellness” rather than just treating “illness” when we get sick. This means looking, feeling, performing and staying well and incorporates regular exercise, a well-balanced diet, a positive attitude and an ability to manage stress. Regular exercise as a key part of a healthy lifestyle, not only aids us to remain fit and healthy physically – it also helps the brain perform better and reduces the chances of dementia. Isn’t that a good motivation to get off the couch?

Unfortunately, a lot of us pass the responsibility for our health to the medical industry. This involves a less healthy lifestyle and seeing our doctor when we get sick. It therefore becomes your doctor’s responsibility to treat the illness by prescribing drugs or medication. The popularity of this approach is one of the reasons the nation’s health budget is always under pressure and it’s considered “normal” for older people to be sick and frail. When you think about it, it’s very empowering to realise that being older doesn’t necessarily have to mean being sick and frail. It’s largely up to us if we want to slow down the ageing process, or not.

Of course nothing is guaranteed because the third factor is good luck. Fit and healthy people get cancer, have serious accidents and catch nasty diseases. On the positive side, being healthy generally aids in the recovery process. There’s not much we can do about good or bad luck. The only thing we have any control over is how we respond to whatever fate throws at us.

Author – Julianne Hunt


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