Don't you owe it to yourself to feel well each day?  What is the key for you - enough sleep? more exercise? healthier diet? peace of mind?

Focus on extending your health, not your life

I recently presented pre-retirement workshops to SA Breweries employees of fifty-five years and older

Following the presentation, a number of participants shared that they understood for the first time the need to retire to something, rather than leaving a fulfilling future to chance.  I explain that their personal retirement financial plans can be built around their lives, dreams and aspirations, rather than being just a set of numbers.

Including their goals and dreams in the financial equation will ensure that they achieve more meaning and purpose - in other words, retire successfully.

In the presentation, I use the Wheel of Balance as a tool to explain the concept of retiring to something.  One element of this Wheel is Health, and in this context, I often cite Retire Successfully’s retirementor, Dr Wayne Derman.  At a recent Chartered seminar, he said something simple, yet profound and powerful. 

He pointed out that, in the 21st century, people are generally living far longer than previous generations.  Sadly, though, quality of life does not automatically come with this longer lifespan.  This is because we risk suffering from degenerative illnesses that undermine the quality of that longevity.

Ideally, he said, we should maintain the quality of our health at retirement for as long as possible, rather than experiencing a steady decline over time as our bodies deteriorate.

According to Wayne, if there is one “magic pill” above all others that will help people retain their health levels longer, it is this: EXERCISE.

Many people, especially those who have not been physically active during their lives, interpret “exercise” as becoming so exhausted that they cannot speak and constantly having tired, aching bodies.  This is definitely not the case.  The body needs regular, gentle exercise to bring out all the endorphins needed to live longer and healthier lives.

Exercise can be started at any age or stage of life, provided that a person gets a medical check beforehand. 

Exercise can involve strong walking, slow jogging, even swimming or cycling, basically any exercise that gets the heart rate raised for a period of time. To have a positive long-term effect, proper exercise should be done about five times a week for an average of twenty minutes each time.

I know from personal experience that our busy lives often exclude exercise-time and I am often tempted to skip a session.  But I know that my “magic pill” will not work so effectively then. Ensuring that our bodies get what they need means that we have to make exercise a priority.  That time that we set aside to exercise must become non-negotiable. 

The key word here is routine.  Make sure that time is booked every week for exercise.  It has to become a habit, one which will become more enjoyable and rewarding as time passes. Then you will also see that it really is a 'magic pill'.

Wishing you wellness ...

8 habits centenarians have in common

With the goal not so much to live longer but to live better, we nevertheless can learn from those who have hit the 100 year mark.

1. Live an active lifestyle - naturally.  Walk to a friend's house and to do your shopping.
2. Reduce stress.  Hike, pray ... in Sardinia, they celebrate happy hour.
3.  Have a strong sense of purpose.  Recognise that this is particularly relevant when you undergo transitions.
4.  Eat until you are 80% full.
5.  Make your diet largely plant-based.
6.  Moderate wine intake.
7.  Belong - the people living longer had a strong sense of community and faith.
8.  Family and loved ones first.

Click here to read the full article.
Retirement can bring immense fulfilment, but can also be a source of stress, especially today. Be sure to check out a copy when you are next at Chartered House.

Stop your stress

20 easy ways!

1.  Write down what is bothering you. It makes it less amorphous and gives you a goal to work towards.
2.  Take action.  Do something right now about the first on your list: call the plumber, make that doctor's appointment.
3.  Set a list of priorities.
4.  Laugh - take every opportunity for a good laugh.
5.  Be good to yourself.  Stop running yourself down.
6.  Hug someone or tell them you appreciate them.  Showing affection reduces stress.
7.  Be assertive.  "No" need not be negative - it can be a life-saver.
8.  Say it!  Don't bottle up feelings and let resentment grow.

Click here for more of these valuable tips.
Happy Retirement: The Psychology of Reinvention

This fantastic book uses psychological research and a unique visual style of infographics and illustrations to provide you with a retirement road map that’s just right for you!

Click here to access your full Wheel of Balance booklist!

Slack-packing: sound appealing?

Lindajane and Trevor Thompson are outdoor people.  Lean and fit, these retired Chartered clients from Belvedere near Knysna epitomises what it means to enjoy the outdoors actively, right into your sixties and beyond. One of their favourite ways keeping fit and having fun is slackpacking.

“When we retired in 2007, we decided to keep active as a lifestyle choice.  Nine years later, we are still going as strongly as ever,” explains Trevor, the former co-owner of a successful transport and removal company.

Lindajane explains with a smile.  “Slack-packing is a version of backpacking, but without having to actually carry your pack.  Across South Africa there are numerous guided walks, usually taking three to four days, where a group of between six and ten people walk between 12 and 17 kilometres a day.  The trip is highly organised.  You have a guide and each night the organisers arrange accommodation and meals.  Your personal stuff is taken from point to point so that you don’t have to carry it.”

Sounds easy?  Forget it.  Slack-packing is challenging.  “Depending on the trip, you can walk over mountains, on trails, along beaches and even wade through rivers.  You need to be fit as the group moves at a steady pace, no matter what the terrain is,” emphasises Trevor.

Lindajane and Trevor have some favourite hikes and tell us all about it in the rest of this article - click here to enjoy it.

The way you start your day

    makes all the difference!

We go to sleep at night, sometimes frazzled, and often forget that when we wake up in the morning, we are able to choose how we feel at the start of our day. 

Retirementor, Joni Peddie, says that the minute you wake up, you can choose t make the most of your day, or you can press the snooze button, roll over, pull the duvet over your head and dreead what lies ahead. 

The way you start your day may influence how you feel for the rest of the day.

Here are simple, but effective ways to kick-start your day:

1.  Set your alarm 5 minutes earlier.
Take 1 minute to check in with yourself.  Find something that you're grateful for. Then, spend 1 minute breathing in a slow, controlled manner.  Notice your breathing and how your body feels. 

2.  3-minute knee hugs create a win-win start:
click here for instructions on how to do them.  They ease back pain and align your spine. 

Share your thoughts with us by participating in our retirement poll!

Were you considering a new career in retirement, what would you prioritise?

When last did you take the Balance test?

Retake the test here to identify those areas in which you are doing well and those that may require attention. 

Achieving balance is vital to retiring successfully.
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