Keys to Living a Long, Healthy Retirement

We are more knowledgeable than ever about healthy living habits and nutrition in this age of information and advances in medicine. Consequently, our average life expectancy keeps climbing. One hundred years ago, our life expectancy for was only 49 years, but now it is 77.9 years.

If you are going to live a long time, it is important to have a good quality of life in those extra years to be healthy and happy. You can live a longer and happier life if you follow some simple healthy habits. When you are retired, you want to enjoy your life, and being healthy contributes to that enjoyment. It is never too late to acquire new habits.

Smoking is possibly the hardest habit to break but also the most important one. Even if you have smoked for many years, you will decrease your risk for developing heart disease by 50% in just one year if you quit smoking. Stay away from second-hand smoke too, because it causes many health problems as well.

Eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight are important factors in living a longer, healthier life. The American Heart Association advocates eating an assortment of vegetables, fruits and grains, especially whole grains. Get your protein from fish, skinless poultry, lean meat and legumes. Consume dairy products that are low fat or fat-free. Fats and oils should be in the form of tub or liquid margarines, canola oil or olive oil.

Caffeine can upset your sleep patterns and strain your kidneys, so limit coffee and tea to one or two cups a day to help avoid the risk of serious illness.

A small amount of wine every day may actually be good for you, but moderation is the key for people of any age. Alcohol has a stronger effect on people as they get older, so be careful about the amount you consume. A small glass of wine with dinner should be just about right.

Before retirement, you may have felt that you were too busy to exercise, but this is a good time to develop a regular exercise program. After you retire and your life slows down, you probably have more time to devote to exercise. Research has shown that even people who do not start exercising until they are older can gain many of the same benefits for their health as people who have been exercising for many years, so don’t be discouraged if you are getting a late start.

Scientists believe that exercise helps to offset side effects from cancer treatments and helps people to control and manage diabetes, asthma and fibromyalgia symptoms. Regular exercise also helps you to stay fit and maintain a healthy weight.

Older people find that they can climb stairs, carry packages, shop and perform other physical tasks more easily if they exercise regularly. Exercise also helps older people deal with arthritis, condition their hearts and lungs and increase muscle mass and muscle strength.

If you want to live a long, healthy retirement, develop good exercise and eating habits, be patient and persistent, and you should see the results of your efforts before long.