FEELING GREAT: Will retirement be harmful to health?

HAPPY: Syd Miller with Kim Duncan (left) and Vicki Smith, of Paul Gough Physio Rooms' customer service  team
HAPPY: Syd Miller with Kim Duncan (left) and Vicki Smith, of Paul Gough Physio Rooms' customer service team

At first, the fantasy of doing nothing on a beach for two weeks seems great. But secretly many people get to a point well before the 14 days is up when they begin to think that they want to get back home.

And it’s because doing nothing, other than sleeping, eating and drinking, doesn’t always make you feel as great as the holiday was intended.

Ever noticed after your holiday, how long it takes to switch your brain back on at work, or how long it takes just to get going again with a simple fitness regime?

So if 14 days is perhaps just too long of a period to do nothing, what would it be like with 20 + years of inactivity?

A new report out recently is encouraging people to think long and hard about taking retirement. Or to be more precise, to reconsider it.

The health benefits of being active are endless. And retirement offers a great platform from which you can do a great many things that you’ve spent your working life wishing you could do as and when you liked.

But the illusion of retirement is that many people just end up with a void. And many of the people I speak to in my physio room who have taken such a step tell me that the hardest thing of all is to actually fill that void with something productive and worthwhile. It seems that if you are not careful, inactivity reigns supreme.

The new report states that you are 40 per cent less likely to suffer clinical depression, and your 60 per cent less likely to suffer a physical condition if you remain at work longer. And it’s because being active, even just constantly on the go as most people are, can keep muscles and joints flexible and release chemicals called endorphins that can make you feel great.

From a physical point of view, the real problem with getting older is that everyday you wake up, your joints are getting more and more stiff.

You are loosing flexibility and as this happens to you, you are much more likely to suffer things like back, knee and shoulder problems.

Syd Miller, a 94-year-old patient who visits my physio clinic occasionally for advice, is active to the point of swimming for an hour every morning in the lanes at the Mill House Leisure Centre.

He is not only one of the fittest, but also one of the happiest people I’m lucky enough to know.

So if you’re starting to think about retirement, it’s important not just to consider the financial implications of your departure from work. Think through all the options to keep as active as possible. Now would be a great time to start something like pilates, yoga, swimming or join a walking, golf or bowls club – and there are plenty in Hartlepool. All of these will keep muscles and joints supple and loose.

The reality is that most people put these things off thinking that there’ll be plenty of time to start when retirement day arrives. But it’s rarely the case that they ever do. Try to get in to good health habits as quickly as possible. In doing so your going to give your self the best chance you can of a long, healthy and youthful retirement.