You would have to live under a rock to have not heard that there are 10,000 Boomers turning 65 every day by now! While the Silent Generation are, for the most part, retired, many Boomers have experienced early retirement due to healthcare issues or to the earlier economic downturn. Not only does this affect their retirement savings but also their ability to pay for their ongoing healthcare costs and for some, long term care insurance. And while savings and investments are a critical piece to an enjoyable retirement, current retirees say that having good health is at the top of list in importance. This Boomer generation also has a claim to fame as the group that spearheaded the fitness revolution! In fact, they self-report that in 1980, 6 out of 10 exercised regularly! I would like to check this statistic versus other studies, because as a long-time fitness advocate, it seems rather high, but perhaps the most interesting question is the one they never asked: Are you exercising regularly today? And what do you consider exercise? Answers to these questions could provide some clues as to whether this group is practicing what it used to preach. Kindly keep in mind that I am a boomer too!
But these Boomers do know what matters most to attain and maintain good health! The vast majority, 80&, share that diet and exercise are key, closely followed by being engaged in activities. Interestingly, this lifestyle choice has been shown in recent studies to delay/prevent the onset of Alzheimer's Disease - please see my earlier post at www.encorefitwell.com on these studies! In the focus groups, every generation in the US rates Alzheimer's as 'The Most Worrisome Disease of Later Life", beating out heart disease, cancer and diabetes. But all chronic conditions can affect healthcare costs and a happy retirement, so here are the 5 strategies for healthy aging ( I prefer optimized lifespanning myself!).
1. Exercising! - Begin in your 60's and 70's and improve your wellness threefold.
2. Proper diet - lean protein, whole grain , lots of vegetables and fruits and healthy fats is the way to go.
3. Healthy weight - yes, we do need to be concerned about the current level of obesity in the US.
4. Social connections - you don't need to be a social butterfly but it's good to have friends, family or both!
5. Healthy lifestyle choices: quit smoking, find a way to manage stress, watch the alcohol and although they don't mention this, please get some sleep!
So there it is -our tool kit to better health, a happy retirement and a commitment to change out healthcare future one person at a time!! Will you join me?