By Megan Giles: Retirement Transition Consultant. First published by Over Sixty [Link: www.oversixty.com.au]
For many people, this end of the year will be more exciting than usual as not only is the festive season almost upon us but it signals their decision to retire as well. This might be you. You have saved well and are confident that your financial position will enable you to do all of those things you dream of when work no longer consumes your waking hours! But what about your health, have you prioritised your health in planning for retirement?
We all know that it is important to see our GP for regular check-ups and I’m certain that there are plenty out there who think ‘I’ll make that appointment next week’ and suddenly six months passes before they realise that they still haven’t visited their GP.
Unfortunately I see too many people who have great plans for retirement but become bitterly disappointed when they do finally step away from work and realise that their health won’t allow them to do the things on their bucket list. They’ve been busy with work, raising a family and looking after others around them, and sadly prioritising their health has fallen by the wayside. It’s not until they spend a whole day chasing after the grandkids or get one hour into a day-long hike that they realise their body just isn’t what it used to be. Mention that camping trip through The Kimberley and the response you will hear is “not likely with this back”…
As the adage goes, prevention is better than cure and so my question to you is ‘is your body going to let you do the things that you want to do in retirement?’ Do a quick self-assessment – how’s your quality of sleep, what’s your mobility like and how easily does your body allow you to do your everyday tasks? If you constantly wake during the night, struggle with those flights of stairs or find that your joints creak and groan, now is a great opportunity to see a health practitioner.
Those who think they have no time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness – Edward Stanley
Your health is one element of your retirement plan that you can control, or at least strongly influence and it’s never too late to make a positive difference, such as eating better or exercising more so that you are able to grab retirement life by the horns! So why not make an appointment today and see a health practitioner, be that your GP, physiotherapist, personal trainer or dietician.
Key things you can do to take control of your health in preparing for retirement:
1. See your GP
Did you know that all Medicare-eligible people aged over 45 are entitled to a free once-off health check? If nothing else, have the check for peace of mind so that you can get on with living retirement to its fullest!
2. Do regular exercise
You don’t need to be able to run a marathon. Just 30 minutes of walking each day can make a huge difference to your health, including a decreased risk of diabetes and heart disease, reduced arthritis symptoms and a slowing of cognitive decline.
3. Have an annual flu jab
We have just experienced one of the worst flu seasons in years. For those who have had the flu (not just a common cold or ‘man flu’) you will know that it is quite debilitating and as you get older, it becomes increasingly more difficult to recover from the flu. If you are aged over 65, the annual ‘jab’ is free and for everyone else it is no more than $20 from your local GP or chemist. It is a small price to pay for your wellbeing.
4. Regular skin checks
How well did you ‘slip, slop’, slap’ when you were young? Public health messaging was not as prevalent 30-40 years ago and so probably not as often as you should have. Make an appointment with a skin specialist to get any changes picked up early.
And here’s a bonus tip. If you’re planning to travel overseas in retirement, find out what vaccinations are required for any countries you intend to visit as a lead-in time may be required for some. For example the Hepatitis B vaccination comprises three shots over a six month period.
Life is busy but prioritise your health. Don’t let avoidable health problems slow you down as you will regret your inaction in retirement. Take action today that your future self with thank you for.
I wish you the very best on your journey,
If you enjoyed this article you may also like to read Health & Well-Being in Retirement - Top Tips from Personal Trainer Gemma Cuskelly and Why yoga is for everyone – especially those approaching retirement!
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