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 …