10 Ways Retirement Abroad Can Help Keep You Young

Susan Beverley

Escape From America Magazine

We’re all well aware of the term ‘having a bad hair day’ – after all most of us have suffered at least one of these in our lifetime, even you men out there reading this!  But as time takes its toll on our bodies and the stresses of life catch up with us, have you ever caught sight of yourself in the mirror and though ‘oh my goodness, I’m turning into my mother/father/great aunt Ethel?’  If you have, then you’ve experienced a bad age day!

None of us are immune to such an occurrence because sometimes the weight of the world we live in can really drag our energy levels down, and this can immediately be reflected in less than luminous skin, lifeless hair, tired eyes and deepening frown lines.  But who wants to look in the mirror and see an aged parent staring straight back at them?

Fortunately, for retirees who have managed to shake off a lot of their previous stresses by making the move to a paradise abroad, bad age days needn’t be a regular occurrence because turning back the years and keeping old age at bay begins with feeling young at heart.

Those of us who have made the bold move to live a better life in retirement, to go in search of a better climate, an improved lifestyle, a lower cost of living and a more laid back pace of life have taken the most important step on the road to a happy retirement…and in this report today I’m going to show you 10 ways that your new life abroad will help enhance your wellbeing.  In other words, here are 10 ways that your new life will keep you looking and feeling younger!

  1. A warm climate, like the one many retirees choose to live in, encourages the body to sweat out toxins, and naturally anyone living in a hot country finds themselves drinking more water.  Water is critically important to stop skin from drying out and to prevent the body from becoming dehydrated.  Dry skin is sad skin and a bad age day nightmare – so keep yourself topped up with water and avoid dehydration as a result.  Have a glass with your breakfast and before your meals, and don’t forget to take a glass to bed with you in case you get thirsty in the night.  By the way, if you drink a glass of water before meals this has the added benefit of making you feel fuller and ensuring you don’t over eat and add on extra weight through excess calorie intake!
  2. Oily fish is often easily and affordably accessible if you’re living in a seaside paradise in retirement – and oily fish is high in Omega 3, one of the body’s essential fatty acids that helps keep your brain alert – and Omega 3 has also been shown to help prevent heart disease.  Clearly oily fish is therefore another essential element in fighting some of the effects of older age!  Make sure you indulge at least 2 or 3 times a week and enjoy oily fish as part of an overall healthier diet.
  3. Buy in to the laid back lifestyle you’re living in and learn to rest!  Whether you take a daily siesta like the locals do, or you just take some time out in the day to meditate or put your feet up and enjoy a nice cool drink, make sure you have an enforced period of rest every day.  You need to de-stress and quite literally take the weight off your feet to aid circulation and to let your mind, body and spirit relax!
  4. Leading on from this point, as we get older many of us experience disturbed sleep patterns – and did you know that a survey of older Americans done in 2003 showed that the healthier a respondent was, the more regular sleep pattern they enjoyed!  So, developing a healthy sleep pattern is important.  It’s just not true that the more we age the less sleep we need – however, it is true that some people can ‘survive’ on very little sleep!  But the keyword here is ‘survive’ – if you want to be healthy, you need to get a decent night’s sleep every night.  If your bedroom is too hot you will find it harder to sleep.  If you drink too much caffeine or alcohol in the afternoon and evening this can affect the quality of sleep you get.  You can ‘catch up’ on sleep, and power naps can refresh you – but ideally you need to do everything you can to ensure that every night you’re sleeping well.  Address any issues head on, and if this means you sleep in a separate bed alongside your spouse, (because sleeping apart can help some people get better rest), then so be it for the good of your health.
  5. The sun ages and damages our skin – and yet it has beneficial effects for our general feeling of wellbeing.  So, we all need to learn to stay safe in the sun no matter what age we are, and thanks to Cancer Research UK there’s a very simple code to follow – the SMART code…Spend time in the shade when the sun is at its most intense between 11am and 3pm.  Make sure you never burn your skin.  Aim to always cover up with a hat, sunglasses and a t-shirt.  Remember to take extra care with your grandchildren and their delicate skin and Then use a high factor sunscreen of at least SPF 15.
  6. Don’t lose that loving feeling – don’t take your spouse or partner for granted because research has proven that the more active your positive thoughts are about your partner, the more loving your relationship will be.  In other words, you need to consistently and consciously appreciate each other and remember what it is about your partner that you love if you want to keep your love active and alive.  Living in a new nation is a challenge, and one you will be working through together – so use the experience to draw you closer and reinforce the loving bond between you.
  7. Leading on from that, a study by the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Scotland has shown that having regular sex can lead to you looking up to 10 years younger!  The survey showed that respondents who found time for sex at least three times a week had a more youthful complexion and were healthier.  In part this is because sex is a calorie burning exercise that pumps oxygen round the body and therefore boosts the circulation and the supply of nutrients to the skin, and in part for women at least, sex helps trigger the production of a particular human growth hormone that helps keep them looking younger!
  8. If you prefer alternative forms of exercise, living in a warm country can make swimming one of the most desirable pursuits – and fortunately, swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for older bodies.  It is a non-stress form of exercise that burns calories, builds strength, aids flexibility, stamina and even balance, and it works your heart and lungs, helping them stay healthy.
  9. Before retirement how many of us were able to implement essential changes to our lives that we knew would make us feel better and perhaps live even longer, but which required concentration, dedication and that most precious of all commodities – time?  The honest answer is that few people have the time when they are working and meeting the monthly mortgage etc., to allocate any time to themselves.  But retirement is all about you now!  It is your time in life.  You have raised a family and/or put years of your life into a job and a profession, you have paid your taxes and saved your money, you have dedicated years of service to other things and other people.  And so now, the time that you have is your time.  And it’s time for you to implement the 4 key changes to your life that could extend your life by up to 14 years!  The 4 key changes are – stop smoking, cut your alcohol intake, develop consistently healthy eating habits and take up regular exercise.  Researchers at Cambridge University in England have shown that adopting these 4 goals and winning the healthy lifestyle battle can add up to 14 years to your life expectancy.
  10. The final top tip for international retirees is that dog owners live longer!  In many nations in the world pet ownership is a luxury that families cannot afford – which is why in Central American nations, Mediterranean countries and across Asia for example, (all popular destinations for Western retirees seeking a better life), dogs and cats are stray animals roaming free and fending for themselves.  Many expatriates want to do their bit to support and improve the new community they live in, and one of the most popular ways adopted is taking in and taking on a stray and sorry for itself animal.  The good news is that according to research from Queens University in Ireland, dog ownership can encourage better health and a longer life.  So, my final tip for you if you want to avoid bad age days is take in a stray dog!  Not only will you be doing your bit for the local community and for the hound in question, but you will be doing your bit for the improvement of your health!  The research from Ireland proves that dog owners are healthier because they get more exercise and therefore have lower blood pressure and cholesterol.  What’s more, having a dog can lead to an increase in social interaction which is good for our mental wellbeing, and regularly stroking a dog and enjoying their loving and loyal company can reduce stress levels.

In Conclusion…

There are many easy ways we can improve the quality of our lives and the health and wellbeing we enjoy.  In retirement when we have more time to dedicate to ourselves we should make it part of our everyday life to do that little something that will improve the way we feel.  It’s your life – so go on and enjoy living it!  Don’t let a bad age day catch up with you and leave you feeling low!  Having taken the positive and bold decision to retire overseas and see more of the world, why not also take the positive and bold decision to get the very most out of every single day.

About the author: Susan Beverley is a writer and editor for Escape From America Magazine and also writes for and maintains Expat Daily News – the expat news blog for EscapeArtist.com.  She traveled extensively before becoming an expat herself having found a place to call home in South America where she has lived since 2005.  She understands the concerns, needs and difficulties that expats face from first-hand experience and is dedicated to supporting and encouraging anyone who is looking for a new nation to call home.


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