Retirement is the perfect time to improve your quality of life. You don’t have to worry about the stress and strain of working and can focus on lifestyle changes that help you feel great.
However, it can be difficult to break from bad habits that you formed earlier in life, and forming new, healthy, habits may be intimidating.
Luckily, decades of bad habit-building can be reversed by taking it one step at a time. In the end, you’ll not only feel better for it, but your overall quality of life will improve.
Regular exercise is vital as you approach later life. Exercise can help mitigate stress, reduce your risk of Alzheimer's, and boost your self-esteem. However, if you’ve never exercised before, you may be intimidated by gym memberships and exercise classes.
Start on your own terms. Try low-impact workouts from the comfort of your own home or join an age-appropriate exercise group. Consider joining a local yoga class or Tai Chi group. Alternatively, you can work with a running group to choose a couch-to-5k program that suits your fitness levels.
You can also incorporate some outdoor activities to improve your health and quality of life. If you have a green thumb, join an allotment and share your produce with loved ones. Or, if you like seeing the great outdoors, search on social media for a walking group in your area.
Consider investing in a wearable like a smartwatch or a fitness tracker. New health wearables can improve your quality of life and give you extra insight into your health. This is particularly important as you age, as some trackers can spot heart murmurs and measure your blood pressure.
Adopting a healthy diet is one of the best things you can do for your health. Eating a healthy, balanced diet in later life can increase your life expectancy by 7% and improve your energy as you age.
Sugar, in particular, can take quite a big toll on your health. Sugar is also addictive and increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cognitive decline. Given their addictive nature, however, it can sometimes be hard to cut it cold turkey. Consider switching sugar for replacement sweeteners, and opt for fruits and vegetables over cakes and sweets that are high in refined sugar.
If possible, try to increase your intake of calcium and iron. As you age, you’re at increased risk of osteoporosis and fractures. A poor diet may also diminish your energy and leave you prone to infection. Try to eat foods like leafy green vegetables, tofu, eggs, and pulses. These can form the backbone of your diet and improve your quality of life by increasing your energy and resistance to illnesses.
Talk to your doctor if you’re considering dietary changes to improve your health as they can make suggestions based on your health history.
Depression and anxiety are normal when entering old age. You’re undergoing major life changes and you may find it hard to adjust. However, you can look after your mental health and improve your quality of life with a few simple changes.
If you’re feeling lonely or isolated, consider adopting a pet from your local rescue. Pets are great for your mental well-being and can renew your sense of purpose. Pets also encourage physical activity which can keep you physically strong and mentally sharp.
Take up a new hobby that forces you to socialize with others. Knitting, book clubs, and painting allow you to express yourself while interacting with other people. This can strengthen your ties to the community and help you build lasting friendships.
Retirement gives you the chance to focus on your own health and well-being. Try to start an exercise routine that you enjoy and leverage wearable technology to improve your workouts. Couple frequent exercise with a balanced diet to reduce your risk of illness and improve your mental well-being.