Five tips for happy healthy ageing
The best ways to sustain or improve physical, mental and financial wellbeing in your pre and post retirement years are sometimes the simplest.
If you’re in or approaching retirement, you may be surprised to know when it comes to living a longer life and leading a healthier and more active lifestyle, the best methods are often easy tasks you can turn into everyday habits.
As Australians have one of the longest life expectancies in the world,(i) it’s not just your physical wellbeing but also the state of your financial affairs which you probably want to keep in check.
Here are five tips to help you sustain health and create financial freedom in the years ahead.
1. Physical activity
Information from the Australian Medical Association(ii) shows that regular exercise has the potential to:
- Increase life expectancy
- Reduce the risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis
- Reduce high blood pressure and the risk of falls
- Improve bone health and body mass index
- Ease feelings of stress, anxiety and depression
- Enhance mobility and balance
The Department of Health and Ageing recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week and that being active in 10 to 15 minute slots can also work just as well.(iii)
Different forms of individual or group exercise may include:
- Brisk walking
- Golf or bike riding
- Gym sessions
- Pilates, tai chi or yoga
- Water aerobics
- Swimming, sailing and dancing
You can locate activities near you via Active Ageing Australia if you’re looking for ideas.
2. Regular check-ups
While many health issues can be aided with physical activity, you may need to talk with your doctor, physiotherapist, podiatrist or local fitness centre about the type and amount of activity you can do.
The Department of Health and Ageing has tips on different exercises and where to start.
Making time for regular check-ups is a great way to take care of your overall health and ensure you stay on top of any issues before they escalate.
3. Mental stimulation
Researchers believe many supposed age-related changes are in fact lifestyle related. Memory loss, for instance, can reportedly be improved by 30 to 50 per cent simply by keeping the brain active.(iv)
Some ways to do this could include:
- Taking up a hobby - YourLifeChoices and About Over 50s have lots of ideas
- Getting involved in social activities and excursions through groups like Probus
- Helping others - you can find a national database of opportunities at GoVolunteer
- Enhancing your tech skills through the Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association
- Getting a full or part time job – check out BeNext for suggestions
- Reading, Sudoku, card games, crossword puzzles and chess.
4. Support network
Staying motivated is important so choosing hobbies or physical activities you like and having a buddy you can team up with may make it more fun.
By keeping up a routine and social connectedness you’re more likely to maintain a greater sense of wellbeing. There are also social support services that can help you to maintain an active social life by having someone visit you in your home, or by arranging visits and outings in the community.
5. Financial wellbeing
With Australians having one of the longest life expectancies in the world today, one of the catches is that a longer retirement will cost you more.
According to an AMP/NATSEM report, the reality is the majority of Australians won’t have enough savings to live comfortably when they retire.
It’s important to think about your finances as well as your health as both will affect how comfortably your current and future lifestyle will be.
Planning ahead can make the world of difference and remember, it’s never too late to get physically and financially fit.
Produced by AMP Life Limited
i Commonwealth of Australia, 2015 Intergenerational Report
ii Australian Medical Association Position Statement - Physical Activity (2014)
iii NSW Department of Health, 'Staying active and on your feet' 2010
iv Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, 'Healthy Ageing - stay mentally active' Better Health Channel, August 2014