- Barry Rosenberg
There are many things to consider when you reach retirement age. None are more important than your mental and physical health. There are the obvious things such as exercise and diet, and regular health check-ups with your doctor. We sometimes forget about the small things each day to keep your body and mind active.
The worst thing that you can do when you finish your working days is nothing. Why? Because your body and mind will deteriorate quickly if you do nothing. Both body and mind need stimulation and constant use. It’s no different to a car battery. If you just leaving it sitting for a long enough period of time, it won’t work when you want it to. Times have changed a lot, and now people are living much longer with the modern medications and technology.
It’s not uncommon to hear people reaching their 90’s or even getting to 100 now. That means when you get to 65 or so and the book says you should retire, if you feel like you still have the energy and motivation to keep working, then you should. One option to think about is to gradually exit your work life, say by reducing your hours to 2 to 3 days a week, or if you’ve had enough of what you’ve been doing for a long period of time, then just a change could be the best thing for you. Everyone is different and not one size fits all. The type of work comes into your decision. Those who have had a physically demanding job most of their working lives finish because their body needs a rest. That is fair enough.
So, the earlier you start thinking about what you want to do the better. Having a plan and goals for when the time comes will be very helpful. Writing down your plan and treating it as a ‘living document’ will better prepare you for change. Change is going to happen. That is certain. A written plan will take your nervousness and anxiety away and give you more confidence to take on the next challenge in your life. Remember, just getting to this point in your life is a privilege denied so many. You should treasure the best years of your life ahead of you.
Recapping what I mentioned earlier, without your physical and/or mental health, all else will be a struggle. Being active doesn’t mean you have to go for a 10k run or a 50k bike ride. It means getting outside in the garden or walking to the park, doing crosswords, reading or playing cards with friends, just anything that gets your body and mind moving. You’re never too old to learn new things and with the internet available nearly everywhere, you can create all sorts of great ideas and things. Prevention of a deteriorating body and mind is better than curing them if you happen to have to.
65 Not Out has designed a 100 Club Challenge for people to keep active and to track what they have done on a daily basis each month. Find out more in our Reinventing Retirement book here.
It’s never too early to begin planning!