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Retire Just for the Health of It!

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

I recently participated in a fundraising walk to end an aggressive form of cancer. A very close friend is a survivor; her tumor was discovered just in time.

It was a beautiful crisp, sunny fall day, and Joanne, another friend of ours, and I were walking together. We agreed how beautiful the day was, yet the circumstances that brought us there was not so beautiful.

Without good health, our life changes dramatically.

As we walked, we caught up on our lives by exchanging information about our families, work, plans for the weekend, etc.

I told her about a presentation I was preparing to deliver to individuals preparing to retire, “Planning For the Non-Financial Side of Retirement.” She was curious about the topic. I explained it is about sharing key aspects of retirement (other than financial) that retirees need to be aware of and plan for. Without awareness and planning, it’s not uncommon for retirees to find themselves stuck in a space feeling unfulfilled, bored, and depressed.

It didn’t surprise me when Joanne, a nurse with over 30 years of experience in a major Dallas healthcare system, asked if the presentation stressed the importance for retirees to focus on their health.

Retirement itself doesn’t affect health. It’s what one chooses to do in retirement that affects one’s health. What’s your plan?

“It definitely does,” I told her. Creating a plan for a lifestyle that contributes to good physical, emotional, and mental health is the overall goal for transitioning to this new phase in life.

She told me studies show without a purposeful and active lifestyle, office visits and hospital stays increase exponentially after individuals retire.

I did more research and learned that retirement is ranked 10th on the list of life’s 43 most stressful events.* When researchers asked what makes retirement enjoyable, healthy and rewarding, four elements emerged:

· Forge a new social network: Retirees leave careers as well as daily contact with others. Establishing a social network is good for mental, emotional and physical health.

· Play: Golf, travel, dance, walk, yoga - whatever gets you moving!

· Activate your creative side: Paint, garden, write, start a business

· Keep learning: Learn a new language, explore a subject that fascinates you

*Harvard Health Blog: Is retirement good for health or bad for it?


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