Now that the holiday season is mostly behind us, there’s just one more annual tradition to complete. Have you chosen a New Year’s resolution yet? Whether you’re transitioning into retirement, or have been retired for a few years now, your health is probably a top concern. Consider these five New Year’s resolutions to help maintain your health, so that you can enjoy a more comfortable and exciting retirement.
Balance your diet. Many people make New Year’s resolutions that focus around eliminating certain “bad” foods from their diets. While this is certainly a worthwhile goal, many people find it difficult to focus on a diet that revolves around deprivation of yummy treats. Instead, it might be better to concentrate on reaching certain nutritional objectives, such as eating five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, including heart-healthy fish in your diet three times per week, or adding more calcium and vitamin D to your daily regimen.
Focus on activity. Many older adults simply aren’t getting enough exercise. But did you know that moderate physical activity can actually improve symptoms of arthritis, and slash your risk of problems like diabetes and heart disease? Set a goal to engage in at least thirty minutes of physical activity each day, or decide that you’re going to try a brand-new activity such as tai chi, yoga, or water aerobics. Even a simple daily walk can fulfill this resolution.
Commit to preventative health. We often put off going to the doctor until we’re actually ill, but scheduling regular preventative care appointments can actually keep you healthy. Set a goal to schedule all necessary appointments this year, such as a dental cleaning, eye and hearing check-ups, and a physical with your general practitioner.
Give up bad habits. If you smoke or drink alcohol regularly, you already know what you need to do. Resolve to quit, or at least set a limit for yourself that requires you to significantly cut back on unhealthy habits.
Challenge your brain. Once you retire, it can be easy to slip into a daily routine that doesn’t really challenge you to stay mentally active. Take up a new hobby, like Sudoku, commit to reading one book per week, or join a bridge club. Keeping your brain active and challenged can actually help ward off age-related concerns such as memory lapses and dementia.
As you set resolutions, remember that you don’t have to accomplish everything at once (otherwise you risk burning out by March). Rather than overwhelming yourself with one large, ambitious goal, set smaller, more attainable benchmarks for each month. That way, you’ll see regular progress, and feel inspired to continue working on your health goals throughout the year.