Is Retirement a Good Thing?

People my age (I’ll turn sixty in December), plus or minus a few years, are either retiring or thinking about retiring. Isn’t that everyone’s goal, to retire, to not have to work anymore, to sleep in, and only do what you want to do? But, is retirement good for us? There have been studies through the years that have shown how people’s health, physically and mentally, decline once they retire. Retirement is also listed 10th on the list of life’s 43 most stressful events. In fact, the reason I started to write this post was because I believed that retirement was typically an unhealthy thing to do. In researching the topic, however, I found some surprising data.


In order to understand this better, let’s discus some of the changes you may experience when you retire.

  • Your sense of purpose may change. If you have had a career in some field that inspired you, that loss can leave you unmotivated and depressed.
  • Your schedule changes. The time structure and hours you have kept disappear. Suddenly, you may find yourself sleeping late (not always a bad thing) and without a set schedule, you may find yourself not getting around to doing any of the things that you thought you would.
  • Your secondary social environment is gone. For many of us, a huge part of the social interactions that we have during the day are with co-workers, clients, and/or customers. Many retirees experience loneliness
  • Your physical life may change. While many people may have sitting jobs, there are also a lot of people that are physically active in their jobs. Construction workers to mail carriers will see a loss in the “mandatory” movement that their jobs required. Without regular physical activity, our health and ability to do daily tasks can be compromised.

Well those are some of the changes and some of the negative consequences that can occur when you retire, but… new research has been showing people are getting more out of retirement than they used to. It appears that the keys to their happier, healthier retirement are:

  • Finding a part-time job doing something you love (either for pay or volunteering) to give you a sense of purpose. This can also help you build new social connections, possibly teach you new skills, and give you a schedule that can get you up and out of your house.
  • Getting or keeping physically active. It’s so important for your health and physical independence to exercise, and now you have the time. Gyms, studios, or health clubs also offer another social environment.
  • Continuing to learn. Whether it’s learning a language, arts, or even going back to college, cognitive challenges help maintain brain health.


So, if you are looking forward to retirement or are already there, these are the types of activities to incorporate into your vision of retirement to make the most of your health, fitness, and happiness. Live long. Live healthy. Live happy.

What Does It Mean to Be Fit?

My ideas for posts frequently come from something I see or read in the media. Finding a More Inclusive Vision of Fitness in Our Feeds, an article in the New York Times made me realize that it was time to talk about our perceptions of what it means to be fit. If a client tells me that they want to become fit, my first question is, “Fit to do what?” Being fit to run a marathon is not the same as being fit to lift boxes at your UPS job, or fit to comfortably get through your daily activities.

There is no one perfect fitness level for everyone. The models we see in commercials, print, and in social media, are either making or trying to make a living from being fit. Getting that lean and muscular (like that of a fitness competitor), is not only difficult to achieve, it’s also extremely difficult to maintain. So, as we look at the images of these individuals, whose job is essentially to look as fit as possible, why is it that we believe that we need to look like them? Well, the simple answer is that marketers try to convince us that we both can and should, through the use of their product or service, look just like them.

While you may desire to look like the models, it’s important to realize that you don’t need to look like them to be fit and healthy. There are some great pictures on internet that (I believe) were published by Sports Illustrated. They show the bodies of top athletes in different sports. Their body types vary widely, illustrating how you can be very fit, elite in your field, and still have a body that doesn’t look like those fitness models.

male athletes

The idea of being comfortable in a less than Adonis body, means that you are less stressed, less anxiety ridden about your appearance, which should allow you to enjoy life a little more.


1DB53F88-D145-469D-A558-0A778F5C07D4-2580-00000269638C2946The catch is that this doesn’t mean sit around and eat whatever you want. You still have to workout and eat healthfully. That’s what is going to help you get/stay fit (to do whatever it is that you want to do) and healthy by getting all of the nutrients you need for your body to function properly. But, you don’t need to look like a fitness model. Be fit, be healthy, but also be happy in knowing that fitness comes in all shapes and sizes.