Nine Unhealthy Habits and Bad Retirement Lifestyle Choices
By Scott Gese

Retirement is a special time in your life. You've put in the years of working long hours. You've dealt with the stress of ridiculous deadlines. You've put up with overbearing bosses and maybe even an unlikable coworker or two with unhealthy habits.

Unhealthy Habits imageYasin Gündogdu/pexels

That's all behind you now. You planned your escape and executed it flawlessly. The thing you've been dreaming of for so long has finally been realized.

It's all smooth sailing from here on out, right?

Not so fast. You may no longer have to deal with work issues but if you're not careful they could be replaces with a whole new batch of issues just as bad if not worse. There are some pretty unhealthy habits out there just waiting to sneak up on you and snatch that happy-ever-after retirement from your grasp. Let's take a closer look at the most obvious of them.

~ Smoking or Chewing Tobacco

30 million people in the U.S. Smoke cigarettes.

On average, smoking will cut your life span by 10 years.

Smoking is responsible for 481,000 deaths in the U.S. Each year.

Both smoking and chewing tobacco products cause adverse health effects.

This habit is expensive, unhealthy and addictive. Retirement puts you on a fixed income. Your limited funds can be better spent elsewhere.

There's not much I can say about this unhealthy habit that hasn't already been said. The risks of tobacco use have been pounded over the heads of all of us for years now. It's a habit that puts a drain on your limited income and can rob you of your good health. You could end up draining your wealth into the coffers of the medical profession.

Tobacco use can kill you. That will put an abrupt end to your retirement.

~ Alcohol Consumption

Bar imageChrisF/Pexels

Close to 50,000 people in the U.S. die each year from alcohol consumption.

The abuse of alcohol is unhealthy, addictive and it can kill you.

Alcohol should be consumed in moderation. I personally don't see a problem with going out for a glass of wine or a drink or two on occasion. Drinking to the point of toxifying your body is not a good thing.

Again, this is an expensive and addictive habit. Retirement puts you on a fixed income. Your limited funds can be better spent elsewhere.

As a retired person it can be easy to fall into the unhealthy habit of drinking too much. Especially if you suffer from low or no motivation which can be a form of mild depression. Grabbing a beer from the fridge or a stiff drink from the shelf because you have nothing better to do can be setting you up for negative health issues down the road.

~ Drug Use

Recreational drug use is becoming more widely accepted in this country. Where it's legal, pot shops can be found on almost every corner of town. As with alcohol, moderation is important. Over the years the potency of marijuana has gotten to the point where it can be overdone quite easily. I don't believe pot has ever directly caused someone's death but like alcohol, partaking and driving is not only illegal, it can lead to a deadly outcome.

Hard drugs like cocaine, heroin and fentanyl are illegal, addictive and they can kill you.

Once again this is a potentially illegal, very expensive and possibly addictive habit. Retirement puts you on a fixed income. Your limited funds can be better spent elsewhere. I don't think I can emphasize this point enough.

~ Gambling

gambling image editedAnnaShvets/Pexels

Gambling can be addictive.

Buying an occasional lottery ticket or an occasional visit to a casino is not what I would consider a problem when it comes to gambling. If you're spending $20, $30 or $50 a week on lottery tickets or hundreds of dollars on more than an occasional visit to a casino you might have a problem. If you're hiding your gambling loses from your spouse, then I would go so far as to say you do have a problem..

When your retired you're on a fixed income. Any spending beyond your budget is cause for concern. Gambling is one of those things that can easily get out of hand. It can become an addiction. One that can screw up your budget, your retirement and your life.

~ A sedentary lifestyle

This can certainly become a habit.

Plopping yourself down on the couch in front of the television or sitting in front of your computer for hours a day can affect your health both physically and mentally. It's a double whammy. When you're in front of the TV., both your brain and your body are not functioning well. You're losing brain cell connections and muscle mass at the same time. Mindlessly sitting in front of your computer can be just as bad. Taking a break from the busyness of your day is one thing. Making it your lifestyle is something all together different. You need to keep your brain and body active if you want your retirement to be all it can be.

~ Unhealthy Eating Habits

Eating junk food like chips, cookies and other unhealthy foods is a bad habit.

Garbage in garbage out. Put bad gas in your car and it will run like shit. The same is true with your body. It might take a little longer but you end up with the same results.

If you expect to live a healthy retirement you need to keep your body's systems performing at healthy levels. Eating processed foods filled with sugars, chemicals and artificial ingredients is not good for your body. They are filled with empty calories and do nothing good for your health. Your body needs whole fresh foods. I believe eating a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy. Preferably organic, is a healthy way to eat. It's all good fuel for your body. Drinking plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated is a must. It's been proven that most people in this country are dehydrated. Your system needs water to help it digest the healthy food you eat and flush out toxins from your body. How do you know if you're drinking enough water? Your urine should be clear.

~ No Hobbies or Activities

“Use your head for something besides a hat rack.”

It's the only real advice my father gave me... about ten thousand times.

Hobbies and activities that cause you to think, keep your brain functioning and creating new neural connections. They also keep your body moving which helps to keep you limber. Doing yoga or other stretching exercises help to keep your body flexible. This is very important as you grow older.

One sure way to send your mental and physical capacities downhill fast is to not actively use your brain or your body. If you expect to enjoy a healthy retirement you need to keep your brain engaged and your body in motion.

~ No Social Life

Alone imageKendel Media/Pexrls

Friends are important. I'll be the first to admit that we are not all social beings. Being left alone to do your own thing can be very relaxing to some of us. But even a recluse needs to get out of the house once in awhile.

You need other people in your life. Conversations are important. Someone to lean on in times of trouble, grief  or stress can be a lifesaver. We all need someone to laugh with and someone to cry with. Someone to just be with when you get tired of being alone. If you're not into close relationships consider volunteering. You can be around other people without making any sort of a social commitment past working with them. Sometimes that's enough. If you want to take it further, you can. The choice is yours. What fun is retirement if you don't share your experience with others.

~ Not Enough Sunlight

Spending most of your day inside can an unhealthy habit especially if most of your time is in front of a tv or computer screen. If you have to be in front of your computer, get a laptop, take it outside and sit with it in the sun. Sunlight is very important to your overall good health. It's a natural source of vitimin D which helps to strengthen your immune system. Plus getting out into the sun just feels good. It makes you smile which is good for your mental health. Where I live, there are certain times of the year when it's hard to find the sun. It likes to hide behind the rain clouds. It's not healthy. If you're in the same boat I am, take a day and drive somewhere until you find it. Get out of the house and into the sun. It's that important.

All of the above unhealthy habits are a slow burn to health issues further down the road. Is your retirement lifestyle important enough to curb your unhealthy habits? I hope you answered yes and plan to make whatever necessary changes you can.

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