Staying Energetic is Key to a Happy Retirement

You don’t want to spend your retirement years in front of the TV.

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Almost every day, I look at my 16-month-old daughter and wish to have the energy she seems to possess. She constantly runs around the living area, throwing pillows across the room and picking them back up, just so she can throw them in the other direction. She climbs the stairs, comes down, and goes up again laughing the whole time. I will need to rediscover this level of energy and enthusiasm in order to accomplish many of my retirement goals.

[See 10 Places to Retire on Social Security Alone.]

Travel. Maintaining my health and energy will allow me to see the world in retirement. I will also need a considerable amount of determination to find travel promotions and deals that will allow extensive travel to fit into my retirement budget. Travel can also be physically draining, especially if you walk around for hours at a time.

Explore my hometown. There are a variety of activities in your community that you probably aren’t able to take advantage of because you are too busy working. I would like to spend more time sampling the cuisine of the many great restaurants within an hour’s drive of where we reside. However, when you have a long commute every day, doing more driving is an unappetizing prospect. Driving to have a relaxing meal filled with great food is at least a bit better when you aren’t also driving in traffic to and from work.

[See 4 Situations When You Shouldn’t Save for Retirement.]

Get off the couch. I would like to be able to do what I love to do, anytime I want in retirement. However, some people lose the desire to do what they used to love by the time they retire. When you don’t feel energetic, you don’t have the urge to do anything but sit in front of a TV and make use of your Netflix subscription. That’s not the retirement life that I want.

Fail to act my age. We often cite age as a reason for lost of energy, but that’s really an excuse. Much of the reason why we feel tired more easily is because we are just not as active. One of my friends is in his 50s, but maintains a surplus of energy. He wakes up at 5 a.m., bikes around town for an hour every morning, and then bikes to work. To him, that almost 3-hour bike ride to and from his office is a commute, but that extra hour he puts in every morning is pure pleasure. I admire the energy that he has, which rivals my 16-month-old daughter.

[See 7 Non-Financial Ways to Improve Your Retirement.]

Explore the outdoors. Children spend time outdoors playing with their friends. Adults have replaced that time with hours sitting in front of the computer. Instead of having recess and playing tag, you hop over to a coffee shop to grab a sugar-filled ice drink. And instead of not wanting to fall asleep, you are yawning all day actually pretending that you are awake. Retirement gives you an opportunity to reprioritize what is really important.

David Ning runs MoneyNing, a personal finance site aimed at helping others change their habits for a better financial future. He suggests that everyone to sign up for an online savings account to get more out of our hard earned money.