When you think about ways to improve your health in retirement, you may consider hitting the gym a few times a week and adding a few more fruits and veggies to your diet. But did you know that your social health also plays a big role in your well-being?
In fact, staying social may help reduce the risk for cardiovascular problems, some cancers, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, and mental health issues. So why not give your health a boost by spending time with others? Consider these tips to help keep your social life active and healthy:
1. Plan regular visits with friends and family
Even if you live close to loved ones, busy schedules can make it difficult to see each other on a regular basis. That's why it's important to be proactive in planning visits with them as often as you can. Whether it's meeting up with an old friend for coffee once a month or picking up your grandkids from school every Friday, making regular plans to spend time with those you love can go a long way for your whole health.
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2. Look to technology to stay connected
For some, retirement may mean traveling frequently or moving to another town (or country!). Fortunately, technology can be a big help in keeping close with loved ones. For example, many smartphones include apps that allow you to make video calls. This digital face-to-face interaction allows you to be part of meaningful events, like your grandchild's first steps or a toast for your friend's birthday. These special moments can help boost your mood and overall well-being. So if you don't live close to loved ones, consider investing in a smartphone or video-call technology to help you stay connected.
Helping others helps you, too – especially when it comes to your health. Whether you're spending time at your local animal shelter or stocking shelves at your neighborhood food pantry, volunteering often involves working with others to reach a common goal. These interactions and experiences can create new friendships and memories, all helping to improve your social life and the lives of others.
4. Join clubs
According to recent research, joining a club in retirement can have just as much of an impact on your overall health as regular exercise. So why not share your favorite hobbies with others? No matter what you love to do, there's bound to be a group of people in your community who love it, too. If you can't find an established group, try creating your own. You can reach out to friends and family members and even use social media to find others who may share your interests.
5. Continue learning from others
By the time you reach retirement, you've likely learned a lot throughout your life. But there's always time to learn more, especially from others. Whether you're playing a new board game with your grandkids or trying your hand at group paint night, learning new skills with others can benefit your health in more ways than one. It not only keeps you social, but can also keep your mind sharp and can help improve your mood. Plus, it's fun!
6. Step out of your comfort zone
Life can slow down quite a bit in retirement, and it can be easy to slip into a routine of only spending time alone or with your spouse. That's why it's important to challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone when necessary to keep your social life full. So give that old friend a call, join your neighbor's book club, and enjoy all the benefits a healthy social life can bring.
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