You don’t think about it until you have to:  retirement.  As the time creeps closer, the questions keep popping up from your family and friends.  When are you going to retire?  What are you going to do after you retire?

As a physician, the first thing that comes to mind is, Why would I retire?  I love helping people and making a difference in their lives.  I’ve seen my profession change drastically over the years and for the good. I firmly believe we are moving in the right direction.  Doctors are spending more time with their patients and building relationships that can only lead to early detection and better outcomes.

That’s why it’s so important to me that we find ways to help those considering retirement to stay as healthy as possible.

When we look at the claims our Medicare Supplement members file, we see a high percentage of hypertension or high blood pressure, and diabetes.  If we could just get a better handle on preventing these diseases, our senior population can have longer, healthier years.  If you’re interested in learning more about staying healthy, the Mayo Clinic has 10 lifestyle changes you can make right now.

  1. Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline –  exercise at least 30 minutes everyday
  2. Exercise regularly – you are never too old to reap the benefits
  3. Eat a healthy diet – look into the DASH diet
  4. Reduce sodium in your diet – eat fewer processed foods
  5. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink – small amounts
  6. Quit smoking – each cigarette increases your blood pressure for minutes after you finish
  7. Cut back on caffeine – it can raise blood pressure
  8. Reduce your stress – know your stress triggers
  9. Monitor your blood pressure – home monitoring and see your doctor regularly
  10. Get support – a supportive family can help improve your health

When it comes to diabetes, some of the same lifestyle changes can help as well, like healthy eating and physical activity.  We can get a handle on our health and add more years to our lives.

Stay active, get involved, and keep busy is the best advice when you retire.  Remember if you don’t fill up your calendar with things to do all there will be is medical appointments.