If you’re considering retirement at a relatively young age, you may be a little worried about not letting yourself age prematurely. After all, if you retire in your mid-50s or 60s, you could spend as long in retired life as you did in the workforce, and you’re probably not ready to settle down for all-day bingo just yet. If you want to stay active, fit and engaged in your later life, here are five things you should consider doing:
- Be the Early Bird on a Regular Basis
When you first retire, there’s nothing wrong with indulging by sleeping in for a while. But if you’re looking to stay active and make the most of post-retirement life, then it’s best to get going at a semi-reasonable hour each morning.
- Find Exercise That Works for You
Some people are able to keep doing many of the same activities they did as a younger adult as they age; others aren’t. If you find that running or other forms of high-impact exercise are leaving you in pain, find alternatives rather than giving up altogether. Swimming and cycling are both low-impact aerobic activities that have positive effects for your heart, your lungs, your muscles and even your mood. Make sure you incorporate some weight-bearing exercise, too, which helps with bone density.
- Stimulate Your Mind and Emotions
Just as you need to keep your body moving, you need to keep challenging your brain and your emotions. Getting involved socially is a great way to do both. Consider a group that does regular museum trips, attend lectures series, start taking classes at the local community college — it doesn’t matter what you choose, as long as you’re not isolating yourself.
- Find or Rediscover Your Passions
If work has been the center of your life for many years, you may find yourself feeling unfulfilled at times during retirement. Banish that feeling by finding new passions or rediscovering old ones. You could learn to play a new instrument, take up dancing again or perfect your French cooking technique. It’s great to have a wide range of hobbies, but aiming for virtuosity in one area can give post-retirement life a pleasant focus and help you maintain some drive.
- Consider a 55 and Up Community
If your current environment won’t be conducive to your doing all these things, then you may want to consider moving to a 55 and up community, instead. In sharp contrast to traditional senior housing, 55+ community living encourages a high degree of independence. Plus, living in a 55+ community puts all sorts of activities and social groups within easy reach, making it almost impossible not to want to get involved each and every day. Over 55 community activities range all the way from bird watching and book clubs to tennis tournaments and cycling clubs, so it’s really just about finding the right 55 and up community for you.
Do you think that an over 55 community might be the right step for you, or are you not ready to move yet? Share your thoughts and plans in the comments.