So you’ve planned for just about every aspect of your retirement—what kind of budget to follow, which hobbies to pursue—but what about your plans for maintaining good physical and mental health? A recent Healthgrades article (“How to Stay Healthy After Retirement,” November 2015) listed surefire ways to stay as active and alert as you were while working.

  • Exercise, exercise, exercise. Not only can physical activity keep your bones strong, improve balance and reduce your risk of heart disease, it can also help keep your brain in shape by lowering your chance of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Whether you garden, tackle a hiking trail or practice tai chi, every type of movement is good for you.
  • Get creative. Stay intellectually active while engaging in your favorite creative hobbies—practice playing the flute, write a short story or paint a portrait to keep yourself mentally agile.
  • Get by with a little help from your friends. No longer going to the office means a smaller social network, but it also means you’ll have more time for activities with friends and loved ones. An active social life slows down cognitive decline and reduces the risk of physical disability as you age.

Where you choose to live can make it easier to adopt a healthy lifestyle. AARP listed the “30 Best Cities for Staying Healthy” (December 2015) for those 50 years and older, using the Livability Index created by the AARP Public Policy Institute. This tool scores U.S. neighborhoods on the services, amenities and conditions that impact how livable neighborhoods are. Here is a sample of the cities that received high marks in categories such as percentage of residents who live healthy lifestyles and doctor-to-population ratio:

  • San Diego, California
  • Portland, Oregon, where 30 percent of residents are over age 50, is bursting with public gardens, bike trails and more than 200 parks. It is also a very cyclist-and pedestrian-friendly city.
  • Denver, Colorado

Staying healthy in retirement is all about maintaining your sense of purpose and keeping that body moving. Spend your time doing things you enjoy with people you care about—a happy retiree is a healthy retiree!