At the end of a lengthy and often difficult working life, most people look with glee towards enjoying a long and fruitful retirement. However, superannuation may not always deliver all that it promises, so it is vital to approach this stage of one’s life with a clearly defined strategy for maintaining health and wellbeing. Those who fail to prepare do so at their peril.
Indeed, a whole range of health issues may await the unsuspecting senior citizen who has not planned ahead for retirement. Blood vessels may become less elastic and hard, fatty deposits may begin to cling to the arterial walls. This puts the newly retired senior citizen at risk of developing high blood pressure or angina and makes a heart attack more likely. The digestive system might be affected, with the kidneys and bladder functions possibly degenerating, leading to constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome or incontinence. Meanwhile, the bones, joints and muscles begin to degenerate. Muscles have a marked reduction in flexibility and strength, and bones become less dense. Senior citizens have a greater risk of arthritis, fractures and osteoporosis. Eyes must also be regularly checked and monitored to avoid glaucoma and macular degeneration. Furthermore, insufficient attention to diet can cause type 2 diabetes.
Little wonder, therefore, that the retirement home market now focuses on the wellbeing and health of the senior citizens. They encourage their retirees to realize the health benefits of remaining active, and this is not as difficult as it sounds. In fact, 30 minutes of brisk walking each day burns the same calories per mile as running, but puts a lot less strain on the body and can lower the risk of heart disease by 30 percent. This can be achieved by walking to the shops instead of driving, or those who enjoy gardening may try to keep their cardiovascular system in good condition by digging, weeding and cutting the lawn.
Alternatively, seniors may wish to take up a sport in their retirement; there are considerable health benefits for those who play golf, join a dance club, go hiking or cycling. Retirees could swim regularly; indeed the local leisure center can actually become an important social meeting place, where like-minded people may meet and benefit from fitness and nutritional advice given by the skilled staff. Keeping active will help to increase fitness levels as well as improving the immune system and concentration levels.
For most people, a long and healthy retirement could be more attainable if they followed some simple guidelines on nutrition. Senior citizens can positively impact their health by eating plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and oily fish, while reducing intake of caffeine, sugary drinks, tobacco and alcohol. Dehydration can be avoided by drinking around eight glasses of water a day.
Senior citizens could also consider further education as a way of keeping their minds active; learning a language, an instrument or other new skill can be the key to maintaining an active mind while providing hours of enjoyment.