3 Tips for a Healthy Retirement

When you were 25 years old, you probably never considered your health. But when you’re 65, thoughts about your health are pretty much a constant companion.

While not everything, good health is obviously a big part of enjoying life.

We accept that we’ll slow down as we get older, but at the same time, we still want to maximize the pleasures of our life by doing everything we can to stay healthy for as long as possible.

If you’re retired, what types of things can you do to stay fully healthy? Here are three.

1. Mow your own lawn.

Yes, landscaping companies are ubiquitous, and in most places it’s pretty cheap to have someone mow your lawn every other week.

Additionally, I understand that all that hard work throughout your career was so you could retire and enjoy a few luxuries. That, along with that oppressive summer heat are great reasons to let a landscape company cut your grass.

Now, health permitting? Maybe you should cut it yourself.

Even if you walk the golf course or take evening strolls, the muscles required to mow a lawn (and edge the grass, dump the clippings, etc.) tend to be the same muscles we use for balance and core strength. Plus, mowing the lawn gets you outside, which is excellent for your mind.

2. Plant a fruit or vegetable garden.

I know of a someone who went from having never planted anything in his life, to having a fantastic backyard garden, where he grew enough vegetables to share with his neighbors. In the process, he lost weight, ate healthier, and reported feeling happier than at any point in his life.

Planting a fruit or vegetable garden is nearly a perfect hobby. It’s physical. It gets you outside. It inspires you to eat healthier food, and it will save you money. Start small.

Here are three of the easiest plants to grow.

  • Radishes: They grow great even in marginal soil, they should be ready to pick in 22-70 days, and are best suited to be planted now in springtime.
  • Salad greens: Lettuce, mustard, arugula or spinach? Whatever your preference, plant the seeds now and with a little care (and maybe some grow lights if you want to harvest year round), you may never have to buy greens again.
  • Strawberries: They take a little more work than radishes or salad greens, but ripe strawberries are full of vitamins and, in my opinion, taste incredible. In some climates, they’ll produce fruit year round. Plant now in a patch of ground with lots of sun, and keep the area free of weeds.

3. Volunteer.

Fairly often, a client or friend with a lifetime of success and accomplishment will voice a concern about their place in the world (now that they’ve retired). When viewed through the prism of our culture of youth, that worry is understandable.

But it needn’t be your reality.

I write about the importance of volunteering quite often. That’s because not only do I make it a point to give back to the community, it brings me a lot of joy and satisfaction.

All that, and perhaps no segment of our society is as welcoming to mature people as volunteer organizations and nonprofits. Volunteering gets you out of the house, helps you interact with like-minded people, introduces you to new skills, keeps you engaged and, most important of all, it helps those in need.

Who knows? You may even find a new career.

Want to make a difference in the world, but you’re not sure where to begin?

  • Serve.gov is a federal website that has a search engine that helps you find opportunities to volunteer based on your interests and location.
  • VolunteerMatch.org is a nonprofit that will help you find local charities in need of a helping hand.

Conclusion

If you can combine physical activities that you like to do, such as gardening, with mentally and emotionally satisfying hobbies, such as reading and volunteering, you’ll be on the way to achieving the balanced existence that many health experts agree is the key to happiness.