Retirement is supposed to the time in your life when you have less responsibility (no job right?) and time to do things for yourself. But all too often we seen people going in polar opposite directions:
- Screeching to a halt with activities; becoming sedentary and not focused on nutrition and sleep.
- Offering up TOO MUCH TIME so that commitments with grandkids, volunteering, etc. take away from the ability to take care of yourself.
A wise woman once told me retirement is the time when YOU FINALLY HAVE TIME TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! Good advice, right? Right!
Women, especially, but men also suffer through this time of getting life in order once the official “job” is over.
Here are some tips to stay healthy during retired years:
- Sleep Better . If we know one things now we didn’t know 10 years ago, it’s that sleep almost trumps everything. Trying to lose weight? Sleep better. Trying to look younger? Sleep better. Trying to get a leg up on your health like blood sugar and blood pressure? Sleep better! 7-9 hours, in total darkness, in a very cool and silent room. Eliminate screen time before bed – and/or use blue light blocker glasses or screen filters if you must. There’s a reason books came before screens – they don’t interrupt your sleep. If you struggle with sleep start Googling, but start with basic sleep hygiene (as noted here) first. Supplements should only be used after all of the natural basic strategies have failed.
- Eat well. This is probably the hardest! “How” is what most people ask. While the answer is easy, it’s not sexy and it might become part of your new “retirement job”. Prioritize protein, because as we age, our protein needs increase because we assimilate it less efficiently. Eat more vegetables (and the colorful kind! Ketchup is not a vegetable). Clean up your starches to those with the least amount of processing. Think all kinds of potatoes – and they come in so many colors: white, yellow, orange, red and purple. White rice (yes, white, more on that someday). Oatmeal if you tolerate it. And there are a lot of baking mixes out there that gluten free and made from safer starch sources…do some research! Lastly, eat high quality fats: olive, coconut and avocado oils, grass fed butter or ghee, nuts and seeds. Whole fat dairy if you tolerate it. We now know the importance high quality fats play in brain health especially as we age. Eat enough to maintain energy and exercise/activity, but not so much that you add body fat.
- Enjoy your friends and family: be social! Many of us find our friends in our workplace. After we retire, we find a lack of socialization without a trip to the workplace daily. In line with staying busy, seek out friends, join clubs, volunteer – this is your new opportunity for a social network if yours has shrunk – but you are in charge. Get out there and do it!
- And of course, exercise. It can be such a grind, right? The key to finding and sticking with an exercise program is not as easy as it seems. After age 50 we have different fitness requirements than we had in our youth! Specifically, we’re no longer easily building muscle but rather shedding faster than a politician’s promise on Election Day! Strength is king in retirement. Speed is important, and delicate in how it’s trained, for safety. Balance doesn’t always have to be trained by itself. Sometimes as you get stronger and begin to work on fast twitch activities, balance will follow. And of course endurance – we need a stronger heart as well as strong muscles. Our favorite training methodology for seniors is CrossFit! Find a gym that specializes in seniors for the safest environment.