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The Secret to Better Quality of Life after Retirement

It is never too early to think about what your life may look like during retirement.

We have entered the age of retirement for the baby boomers. There are 77 million baby boomers in America. The number of people retiring is skyrocketing, and the workforce will be left with huge experience gaps to fill. For those who are retired or will be retiring soon, here are a few things to consider that might make those retirement years a little more pleasurable.

Everyone wants to know the secret of better quality of life after retirement. The best way to stay young is to stay active, both physically and mentally. Millions of Americans, most of them older adults, suffer from chronic illnesses that can be prevented or improved through regular physical activity. Also, keeping the brain active will ensure it stays sharp and alert. It is a classic case of “use it or lose it”.

Physical activity in older persons produces three types of health benefits:

  • It can reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease.
  • It can aid in the management of active problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, or high cholesterol.
  • It can improve the ability to function and stay independent in the face of active problems like lung disease or arthritis.

Mental exercise is just as important as the physical. Keeping the brain active and engaged can improve overall quality of life. Start simple and be consistent. Have a conversation with a neighbor, do crossword puzzles, surf the internet, play video games or volunteer with a charity. Keep involved with the community and use the experience of a long life to the benefit of others. All of these things can help keep the brain young.

Also, going back to work, even on a part-time basis, can provide the opportunity for mental and social engagement. Your employer will also benefit from the experience and knowledge you bring back to the workplace. The plummeting availability of workers caused by the exit of the baby boomers from the workforce can only be alleviated by those in retirement returning to work.

Ultimately, it is up to you to determine the quality of life that you wish to have. Having an active mind and body and having purpose in life are the keys to staying young and happy. This is good advice for both the young and old.

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

 — Henry Ford


This article was first published in the Winter 2010 edition of the Retiring Right newsletter. Click here to view other newsletters. Not receiving your newsletter, update your address by completing the Change of Address form.


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