Health & Wellness

Retirement Health and Wellness

(Strategies for Fitness, Diet, and Longevity)

When we talk about retirement health and wellness, our definition includes a high quality of life, ability to carry out basic tasks, being mentally sharp and enjoying all the longevity your genetic makeup and good fortune will allow. This means every aspect of feeling better and being fully prepared for an active retirement – regardless of whether you are fully retired or are still involved in work, business or volunteer activities.

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Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Healthy isn’t a goal, it’s a way of living. From what you eat to how much moving you do, it all makes a difference in your quality of life…STARTING NOW!

Food? Really?

Generations of us grew up on bleached flour and processed sugar…in everything. Sugary, carbonated sodas and a pizza were considered a great meal. And we topped it off with a store bought cupcake filled with “high fructose corn syrup” and “hydrogenated vegetable/animal fat”. And don’t even get me started on the growth hormones in the pepperoni, on the pizza.

Exercise?

Sure, maybe we did some kind of sport in high school or college, but then we went to work and maybe sat behind a desk for 8 to 10 hours a day for 30 years. And yes, we had Jack LaLanne, Denise Austin and Richard Simmons, and they were fun to watch once in a while, if we had the time.

It’s never too late to start making healthy lifestyle choices.

Well folks, we are more educated now than ever before on the benefits of eating a well balanced diet and getting regular exercise. Get up a little earlier every morning and go for a walk. Later, when you stop at the local coffee shop, skip the donut and get the yogurt instead. (No, the yogurt doesn’t have a sugary glaze but, it really does taste good…you CAN do it!)

Articles & Information From Next Phase of Life

The Benefits of Simply Getting Outside

The Benefits of Simply Getting Outside

Americans now spend an alarming 93 percent of their time indoors, despite the benefits of getting outside.

We have become an indoor species, which is having consequences on our physical and mental health.

Staying inside is detrimental on its own, especially since indoor air can be 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. We’re also often sedentary and tethered to a digital device while inside. read more…

Embracing Lifecycle Health

Embracing Lifecycle Health

As we progress through what we’ve termed the “Wellness Revolution” there are a lot of belief systems about human health and wellness that need to evolve and change to deliver a wide-angle approach to embracing Lifecycle Health. We’ve chosen the term, “Lifecycle Health” to signify a more comprehensive view across the complete human life cycle. None of the other terms used today in the fields of Healthcare and Wellness are comprehensive enough, either in scope or time frame. read more…

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A Newly Discovered Link Between Brain Activity and Aging

A Newly Discovered Link Between Brain Activity and Aging

A new study reveals that the activity of the nervous system affects longevity.

Why do some people live into their 90s and others not make it past 70? Despite centuries of seeking the secret to longevity, we don’t have many answers yet, biologically speaking. But a new study from Harvard Medical School, published October 16 in Nature, has for the first time pinpointed the role of neural activity on the aging process and  expanding or shortening how long an individual will live. read more…

Fueling the Healthcare Revolution

Fueling the Healthcare Revolution

Recovering the Health and Vitality of Our Generation and the Next

The field of healthcare in North America is in desperate need of a full-on revolution. Despite more advances in science, medicine, philosophy and psychology than any other time in history, the percentage of chronically ill Americans is also higher than any time in history. Tragically, those percentages are growing dramatically. This healthcare revolution is long overdue. read more…

The Most Common Reason People Don’t Walk More for Exercise

The Most Common Reason People Don’t Walk More for Exercise

In this article I talk about why, unlike in Europe, many people in the US do not walk more. I used to think it was laziness until I visited southern Europe. I live in the U.S. where 2/3 of adults are overweight or obese. But in Spain, France, Italy, Montenegro, and Greece, I was astounded to see sidewalks crowded with pedestrians, in contrast to the empty sidewalks in America. And almost nobody was overweight. read more…

Too Old to Work Out? Think Again

Too Old to Work Out? Think Again

I just read a disturbing Study Finds article that reported that: “Six in ten Americans said at the beginning of 2019 that this would be the year they finally get in shape, according to a recently survey. Yet two in five respondents now admit they feel “too old” to get back in the gym. In fact, the survey of 2,000 adults found that on average, the age when most in the survey felt too old to work out regularly was just 41 years old.” read more…

The Perils of Inactivity: Why You Need to Move

The Perils of Inactivity: Why You Need to Move

If I had to use one word to sum up the biggest danger to a happy and successful next phase of life, it would be “inactivity”. The perils of inactivity are real to your physical and mental health. You’ve got to keep moving and you’ve got to keep thinking because what doesn’t move atrophies. Wasting Away in Margaritaville is a fun song, but your wasting away wherever you are is a very bad thing indeed. read more…

Retirement Health and Wellness

Retirement Health and Wellness.

 

Strategies for Fitness, Diet, and Longevity 

When we talk about retirement health and wellness, our definition includes a high quality of life, ability to carry out basic tasks, being mentally sharp and enjoying all the longevity your genetic makeup and good fortune will allow. This means every aspect of feeling better and being fully prepared for an active retirement – regardless of whether you are fully retired or are still involved in work, business or volunteer activities.

In practical terms, this means that you can:

    • Wake up every morning (or at least most mornings), feeling refreshed and ready to carry out whatever tasks and activities lie before you.
    • Get around without the aid of a wheelchair or other mobility aids.
    • Remember names and faces, at least most of the time.
    • Participate in recreational, cultural, sports and social activities.
    • Keep up with peers in your age group and perhaps with those who are younger.
    • Control whatever addictions are holding you back.
    • Feel that you can truthfully answer “good” when someone asks you how you are feeling.

Of course, there are many circumstances that can prevent these positive outcomes. Not everyone enjoys robust health and there are genetic and environmental factors that can derail even the best-made plans. However, we are talking about making the best of what we have to work with. Fortunately, we are more educated now than ever before on the benefits of eating a well-balanced diet and getting regular exercise. People in America today can expect to live longer than ever before. Making healthy lifestyle choices, like quitting smoking and losing weight, can help you avoid health risks later in life.

Senior Health – Making Every Day Count

Senior Health – Making Every Day CountAs reported by retirehappy, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. This definition recognizes that spiritual, emotional, biological, genetic, behavioral, and societal aspects of life all play important roles in health. This definition conceptualizes health at the individual level as being positive, multidimensional and holistic.”

This definition vastly expands the definition of senior health from what used to be basically the absence of injury and the ability to carry out basic tasks. And it is also the basis for what Richard Hoffmann covers in his excellent article, Fueling the Healthcare Revolution.  Hoffmann talks about the disturbing statistics on how many Americans suffer from one or more chronic diseases and how patients and healthcare providers are addressing this issue. And it goes without saying that every disease avoided gives you a better chance at a decent quality of life.

Our point is this: While there is a healthcare revolution going on big-picture wise, the important thing is your own personal senior health revolution. You can be better informed, you can take the matter seriously, and you can make a big difference in your own health and how it impacts your quality of life.  

Senior Fitness – Living Life with Gusto 

Senior Fitness – Living Life with GustoTo meet your retirement health and wellness objectives you need the ability to move with ease, and perform a certain number of physical tasks. You don’t have to win the club tennis championship but you do want to be able to play 60 to 90 minutes of doubles without embarrassing yourself. Of course, there may be a circumstance that prevents this from happening, but we are talking about what is in your control. You can eat healthier, exercise more, participate in sports and other physical activities, and you can refrain from doing, eating, or drinking things that are harmful to you. That’s really the essence of senior fitness.

There is no shortage of information about how to improve your fitness level. Unfortunately, a lot of this information is either biased due to the fact the information is supplied by someone who is trying to sell you something, it is totally impractical, or it is offered by individuals who are much younger than you and don’t understand your unique needs.

To this last point, when I was in my mid 50’s, I hired a personal trainer when I joined a health club. This was a younger guy (probably mid 30’s) and he was very knowledgeable and extremely buff.  He must have spent time as a Marine drill sergeant because he was determined to whip me into shape. The problem was that I was not a 19-year-old recruit, but rather a baby boomer who needed a tune up, not an overhaul. I pulled a muscle in my back, and it set me back several weeks. Fortunately, I found a better trainer who worked with me on my terms, and I was able to make steady and reasonable progress. Moderation is often a better strategy than an all-out assault.

And if you think you are too old to work out, think again. As this article shows, people as young as 41 say they are too old to work out, while others who are in their 60’s and 70’s are repeating the benefits of regular exercise.

Hit the Gym – Or Not?

Hit the Gym – Or Not?Many retirees are told, and believe, that they need a trainer and/or a gym to get and stay in shape. This is not necessarily so, but there are definitely good reasons to join a gym or health club, including:

    1. Assuming you actually go to the gym a minimum of twice a week (preferably 3-4 times), you will gain health benefits like better cardio, weight loss, lower percent of body fat, and an all-around improved sense of health and wellness.
    2. Your mental outlook will improve. It works without fail – you are exhausted physically and mentally and going to your health club is the last thing you want to do. But you honor your commitment and voila, you walk out an hour later refreshed physically and mentally.
    3. Keeps you healthier. You can’t avoid all sickness but being in shape will help. Plus, if you do get sick, you will likely have a faster recovery.
    4. Lessens your chance of injury. Weekend warriors who do not work out during the week are susceptible to many injuries: twists, sprains, broken bones, etc. A workout or two during the week will help you improve performance and reduce injuries.
    5. There is usually plenty of really good equipment – much better in quality and quantity than you could afford for a home gym, even if you had all enough space to accommodate the equipment.
    6. Dedicated workout time. Unlike at home, where many other distractions can occur, you will likely complete the routine you came to the gym to perform.
    7. Access to good advice. Gym employees are usually quite happy to answer questions and show you how to use a particular piece of equipment. Also, there are usually personal trainers available if you need more serious attention.
    8. Peer motivation. Watching (without staring) others going through their routines can help keep you going. I especially appreciate the dedication of the gym goers who are in their 70’s and 80’s and still doing what’s necessary to stay in shape.

Some people don’t go to the gym because they are embarrassed by their body or fitness level. Please don’t let this be you. Even the buffest men and women admire that you are there and frankly, most people are so absorbed in their own workouts that they aren’t paying attention to anyone else.

By the way, there are a few negatives to going to the gym. There is the monthly cost and you usually have to drive somewhere and deal with the hassles of traffic and parking. Depending on the time of day, you may have to wait for your favorite piece of equipment. And yes, gyms can smell funny and if this is a problem, you might be at the wrong gym. With all the people touching equipment, cleanliness is very important to help stop the spread of colds and other illnesses.

All things being equal, I believe joining a gym to be the best option. However, one of our most popular articles at NextPhaseofLife.cm will give you a different viewpoint: The Healthiest People in the World Don’t Go to the Gym. The author makes a compelling case for skipping the gym, but regardless of your choice, the important thing is that you are working out and staying healthy.

Senior Nutrition – Fueling the Body for Maximum Performance

Senior Nutrition – Fueling the Body for Maximum Performance.A healthy diet is a cornerstone of an active, happy and disease-free retirement. This starts with education; knowing what’s good to put into your body and what isn’t. Unfortunately, the list of what isn’t good is fairly lengthy, and it seems as if the entire food industry is lined up to tempt you into eating bad stuff, and lots of it.

A healthy diet is all about habits. If your habit is to have a large bowl of ice cream after every dinner, you will continue to do so unless you break the habit. Likewise, habits are formed if you pop open a can of high sugar soda every time you sit in your easy chair or have that extra glass of wine when you know you shouldn’t. Fortunately, good nutrition habits can vastly improve your overall health.

A poor diet is a leading contributor to heart disease, cancer and diabetes, the big three enemies for seniors. The good news is, if you use a healthy diet to reduce your risk for any one of these diseases, it can have a positive ripple impact on the others. Diabetes is a good place to start. And I am not speaking of type 1 diabetes, but rather type 2 and prediabetes, which are much more prevalent. Here are some disturbing 2020 statistics, as reported by the Center for Disease Control.

    • Total: 34.2 million people have diabetes (10.5% of the US population).
    • Diagnosed: 26.9 million people, including 26.8 million adults.
    • Undiagnosed: 7.3 million people (21.4% of people with diabetes are undiagnosed).
    • Total: 88 million adults aged 18 years or older have prediabetes (34.5% of the adult US population).
    • 65 years or older: 24.2 million adults aged 65 years or older have prediabetes.
    • Medical expenses for those with diabetes or prediabetes are more than twice as large.
    • Diabetes is vastly underreported as a listed cause of death.  

This means that about a quarter of seniors have diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes or prediabetes. If this is you, or could be you, it is best to catch it when it is at the prediabetes stage and prevent the transition to type 2. And while fitness helps control type 2 diabetes, the largest impact can come from diet.

I am not giving you medical advice but you can read in many places about the danger of too many carbs, as I did when I was diagnosed with high blood sugar (prediabetes). Simply by cutting back on high glycemic load items like sodas (banished), white bread (banished), other types of wheat (moderated) and pasta (moderated), I was able to lower my blood sugar level and lose about a dozen pounds, in about six weeks. Everyone I know who has cut back on carbs has experienced weight loss and lowered blood sugar levels. Please do your own research on this and consult your doctor. You will be glad you did.

Ways to eat well as you get older.

As for general diet advice, this infographic from the National Council on Aging really says it all. You can get a printable version of this at https://www.ncoa.org/resources/6-ways-to-eat-well-as-you-get-older-infographic/.

Mental Sharpness – Avoiding “Senior Moments”

Mental Sharpness – Avoiding “Senior Moments”Many of us baby boomers have brief panic attacks when we forget someone’s name, lose our keys or forget directions to what should be a familiar location. We think: Am I having an episode of early onset dementia? Am I losing my mental acuity? Am I starting my downhill slide? Actually, a lot of people who are much younger have what could be called senior moments. This can be attributed to a lot of things other than loss of mental function, including:

    • You are concentrating on something else.
    • You have too many things on your mind.
    • Lack of sleep. The brain works slower when deprived of adequate rest.
    • Anxiety and worry can impact mental quickness.
    • Physical issues. High blood pressure can damage the wiring connecting different parts of the brain.
    • Certain medicines can have a negative effect on memory, either alone or when combined with other medicines. This is why it is imperative that all prescribers know every medication you are taking.

But regardless of whether it is based on reality or not, memory loss is perhaps the greatest fear of baby boomers, both retirees and pre-retirees. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 5.5 million adults in the U.S. currently have dementia. However, before becoming paranoid about this, realize that much of this number consists of mild forms, leaving those who have it quite functional. A large percentage is also treatable with exercise and diet, or by switching medications. 

The good news is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to figure out your risks. Of course, if you have serious doubts, by all means see your medical provider and undergo whatever tests are necessary. In the meantime, I found great value in a free online cognitive test that took me only about 20 minutes to complete. Despite having what I used to consider occasional “senior moments”, this test, plus a brief chat with my doctor, reassured me that these senior moments were just harmless human moments.  

Longevity – Making the Good Life Last

Longevity – Making the Good Life Last

Longevity is relative. Some of us have parents or grandparents who lived into their 80’s, 90’s, or even 100’s, while others descend from individuals who died decades earlier. If given the choice, all of us would choose to come from long-lived stock.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, it is estimated that about 25 percent of the variation in human life span is determined by genetics: “The siblings and children (collectively called first-degree relatives) of long-lived individuals are more likely to remain healthy longer and to live to an older age than their peers. People with centenarian parents are less likely at age 70 to have the age-related diseases that are common among older adults. The brothers and sisters of centenarians typically have long lives, and if they develop age-related diseases (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, or type 2 diabetes), these diseases appear later than they do in the general population. Longer life spans tend to run in families, which suggests that shared genetics, lifestyle, or both play an important role in determining longevity.”

The group that is lucky to have hit the lottery DNA jackpot certainly has some built-in advantages, but this is not the total story. There is a lot you can do to live longer (and healthier). According to the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, in addition to genetics, the primary factors impacting longevity are:

    1. Access to quality health care.
    2. Environmental factors, especially in childhood.
    3. Socio-economic status. There is a correlation between income level and lifespan.
    4. Education level. Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher live on average two years longer.
    5. Marital status. Those individuals who are married have lower mortality rates than those who are single, divorced or widowed.
    6. Females on average, outlive males by about five years.
    7. Issues like smoking, excessive alcohol, workplace safety and driving safety, have a large impact on longevity. Diet is an important factor, especially since poor nutrition choices can lead to obesity, a major roadblock to a long and healthy life.

One other key to a retirement wellness and longevity. As we shared in this article: “People who have strong social relationships are less likely to die prematurely than people who are isolated. In fact, according to a 2010 review of research, the effect of social ties on life span is twice as strong as that of exercising, and equivalent to that of quitting smoking.” Practice the health and wellness ideas shared above, find some friends to share the journey with, and have a healthy, happy and productive life.

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Next Phase of Life!

A Collection of Expert Information and Inspiration designed to help you navigate the complexities of pre-retirement and retirement.

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