There’s great news for those of us in or approaching retirement – research shows it is good for our health to retire!
The findings contradict the common belief that retirement is the first stage in declining health, and instead demonstrates the significant changes retirees are making to their day-to-day lives in order to enjoy a healthier retirement.
According to the study by economist Peter Eibich from the University of Oxford, retired people use their leisure time to become healthier by exercising, sleeping more and ridding themselves of work-related stress. It was also found that those giving up physically demanding jobs benefitted the most from retirement.
Are you in need of some lifestyle changes for your own retirement? If so, here are our top ten tips to establishing good habits and creating a healthier, happier you for 2016…
Get active Keeping our bodies physically active in retirement is so important to staying healthy. The NHS recommends those of us aged 65 and over should be active daily and aim for at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week. But we don’t need to exhaust ourselves; walking the dog around the block, taking the grandkids for a stroll through the local park, walking to the local shops instead of taking the car, or enjoying a weekly exercise class such as aqua-aerobics are just some easy ways to notch up our activity levels.
Kick the habit More than 1 in 10 people aged 60+ are regular smokers. The scary fact is half of all smokers are eventually killed by their addiction from smoking-related diseases, and is the cause of over one third of respiratory deaths and over one quarter of cancer deaths. Kick the habit today and you could notice the benefits to your health and wallet very quickly. After one year your risk of heart disease will go down by fifty per cent; and if you smoke 10 a day you will have banked at least £550.
Switch caffeine for herbal teas It's fine to drink tea and coffee as part of a balanced diet but bear in mind that caffeinated drinks can affect your sleep and make the body produce urine more quickly. If you have sleep problems such as insomnia, or issues with urinary continence, try cutting down on caffeine by changing to low-caffeine tea and coffee, fruit or herbal teas.
Drop your hours Still in work? If the stress of your job is affecting your health, by reducing your hours you could ease your mind and body into retirement, without your life changing drastically overnight. If the financial impact is a concern, there are products available that could enable you to access your tax-free cash tied up in your pension fund to help clear your mortgage or pay off loans and credit cards, taking the pressure off your day-to-day finances. You could also potentially top up your reduced income with regular payments from your pension. There are many different options available, so speak to a specialistto find out more.
Sleep more Most of us know the importance of getting a good night’s sleep, especially as we get older, but did you know the recommended sleeping time for people aged 65+ is 7 – 8 hours a night? If you aren’t getting enough zzz’s, try sticking to a sleep schedule (even on weekends), cut down on daytime naps, practice a relaxing bedtime ritual, exercise daily and evaluate your bedroom to ensure you have the ideal temperature, sound and light for you.
Drink less alcohol Drinking alcohol in moderation is key to staying healthy. Men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week – equivalent to around one and a half bottles of wine (ABV 13.5%). Alcohol is high in calories so drinking less can help you lose weight and is likely to benefit your health too. Just two large glasses of wine or two pints of strong lager a day could make you three times as likely to get mouth cancer, according to the NHS Change4Life.
Eat more ‘super foods’ Studies have shown that compounds in garlic and avacados can lower blood pressure, reduce harmful cholesterol and raise levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol in the blood; the recommended daily dose of fresh garlic is one or two small cloves. Meanwhile, eating just three brazil nuts a day can help thyroid function. They are also an important detoxifier (important for those with arthritis) and a powerful antioxidant, thus having protective effects against ageing and disease!
Check you’re getting enough vitamins Most of us can get all the vitamins we need by eating a healthy, balanced diet, but there are some vitamins that retirees are regularly found to be lacking in. For example, people aged 65+ are at risk of not getting enough vitamin D through sunlight and diet alone, so a supplement of vitamin D of 10 micrograms per day is often recommended. There is also some evidence that older people can have B12 deficiency; eating fortified breakfast cereals, yeast extract and meat can help with this.
Spend more time with the grandkids Children are great for keeping us active and feeling young with their abundant energy and imaginations. Helping out each week with your grandchildren won’t just be appreciated by your own children, who will surely enjoy the break – your mind will benefit too. Studies show grandparents who regularly look after their grandchildren have less chance of developing Alzheimer’s as a result of increased brain function and memory.
Have a health check Many of us can be guilty of shying away from the GP, but it is a good idea to book yourself in for some routine tests so they can check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. High readings increase your risk factor for stroke and heart disease, but do remember, these issues can be assisted and even completely reversed with medication. Whilst you are there, ask your doctor about the seasonal flu jab – it’s free once you reach 65, or if you have a health condition that puts you at risk of more serious problems if you were to catch the flu.
Get a better rate!
For those living with poor health, did you know you could secure a bigger income for life with an Enhanced Annuity?
There are around 1,500 different conditions which could qualify you for more competitive rates with an Enhanced Annuity. These range from health and lifestyle conditions such as high cholesterol, smoking, excess weight and alcohol consumption to conditions such as cancer and heart disease. Even certain post codes or occupations qualify.
Speak to one of our retirement income specialists today and discover if you we could get you a bigger income from your pension fund with our friendly, specialist service. Call 0800 652 1316.
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