Retirement brings many new challenges but it does not mean that life should then slow down.

How you face up to and think about your retirement is a big key.  Some think that by not going to work every day it will bring an end of experiencing a fulfilled and productive life.  Life then passes you by as you slow down, become boring and gradually you sink into the background.

Nothing is further from the truth. Retirement is a chance to set fresh and new challenges, there may be things you have always wanted to do but never had the time to do them.   Many I speak with tell me that now they are retired they don’t know how they ever found time to go to work.

If you have been retired for a while you may find that you have got into a rut of household chores, jobs in the garden and the afternoon siesta. I would suggest that you should sit down and write a list of all the things you have wanted to do and places to visit.  The key is to plan your activities otherwise you can find that everyday life rushes in and sweep you away.

Consider both your physical and mental health.  Staying physically active is a major key to enjoying a long and full life.  Remember that just because you are busy does not necessarily mean that you are staying fit. Exercise is also great for helping to maintain brain function by increasing concentration and helping you to learning new skills.

Mentally, if all you are doing is gardening, bowls, going for walks, holidays, visiting friends and light reading you may want to think about setting yourself some  fresh challenges.   Why not take this opportunity of learning a new skill or a language.

I would like you to think about what sort of activities you would expect someone who is aged 90 to be doing.   Maybe this person would be living in a residential home, or a retirement community.

Well at the age of ninety, Walter Stack of San Francisco cycled daily the 8 miles to the Golden Gate Bridge, where he would descend into the water and would swim for 30minutes before running across the bridge and back.  He then cycled the 8 miles home!

It’s not just your own idea of how you will feel and what you will be doing when you get to eighty or ninety.  Society also has its own ideas of what an eighty year old should be doing.   I would strongly advise you, do not conform to what is expected of you.   Be radical break the mould.

We all have a chronological age, in other words how many years it has been since we were born.  We also have a biological age as well.  The biological age is the rate at which we  physically age and it has been found that  active people or any age will have younger biological ages than their peers.

Then there is the social age.   This is what you perceive is acceptable behaviour for your age.   Are you running around with grandchildren or sitting quietly watching them.   Seniors can find that their family can put pressure on them to take it easy.

Gerontologists have focused on understanding the factors responsible for the difference in the rate and the extent to which we age.

Genetics plays a part but this is beyond our control.  And gerontologist often joke that the single best way to ensure longevity and healthful old age is to choose one’s parents wisely!

Environmental factors will also play a major part in ageing successfully.  How active are you, do you smoke, the sort of diet do you eat?

Senior health and fitness will not only give longevity but also improve the quality of life that is experienced.  I would not want to find myself at eighty stuck in a chair for the best part of each day.  It is not just about adding years to one’s life, but life to those years.

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