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Fit & Proper: How to stay fit and healthy after retirement

Retirement gives us the perfect opportunity to do the things that we've always wanted to do

Gerd Mueller 

At 67, Alok Dhond goes for a kilometre-long walk, plays golf twice a week with his friends, turns in early and does not compromise on his sleep. He is also disciplined about what he eats and when he eats. Compared to him, his friend, Gyan Sharma , would rather stay at home through the day and has cut down on socialising since he retired five years ago. His also finds himself waking up several times in the night. There is a marked difference in the way these two men have approached their retirement.

There is nothing like ageing gracefully. With a right combination of exercise and a healthy lifestyle, most of us should be able to live active and independent lives well into our retirement. All over the world, you see older people living life to the full - realising dreams that they might have put off because of their professional commitments. Retirement gives us the perfect opportunity to do the things that we've always wanted to do. Do not let avoidable issues stop you.

Retirement is not a signal to stop exercising. The key is to find what works for you and what you enjoy. It is vital to take care of your physical and mental well-being and exercise has been proven to help fight depression, as well as keeping you fit and mentally alert. In our mature years we can be more vulnerable to various conditions such as diabetes or hypertension. Some of these can be avoided or managed through sensible lifestyle choices.

QUICK TIPS

  • Get active: If you are embarking on a new exercise programme, it is important to do so in a safe and medically supervised environment to avoid injury. It is best to work with trainers or therapists who you can trust and who constantly monitor your progress, so that they can motivate you to achieve your full potential. A strong body will help you remain active and confident. There are also specially designed programmes for older patients. These help them achieve or maintain greater physical independence, confidence and vitality. Go for the one that suits you best.

  • Get social: Family and social support is crucial for your happiness. So keep yourself engaged.Play with your grandchildren, join a social group to meet like-minded people, make new friends and keep up with your old friends by doing things together. A group exercise class is a good way of seeing friends regularly. You are far more likely to attend it regularly if it's fun. Here too, there are support groups that offer older patients a common platform where they can share their experiences and knowledge to benefit each other. This also gives them the opportunity to ask for advice from an expert panel of doctors, nutritionists and physiotherapists.

  • Watch your diet: It is good at any age to be careful about one's food and to eat sensibly. This is equally important in later years. Try to have three wholesome meals a day. Each meal should include a high biological value protein such as eggs, legumes, mushrooms, nuts, milk, cheese or meat. It should also include adequate amount of wholegrain, vegetables, fruit and essential fatty acids. It is also very important to keep yourself well hydrated. Drink sufficient water. It helps to flush away toxins and keeps your metabolism healthy.

Gerd Mueller
Chairman & MD, AktivOrtho, a centre for orthopaedic, neurological and gynaecological rehabilitation, New Delhi and Gurgaon

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First Published: Thu, February 12 2015. 23:29 IST
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