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Tuesday, September 03, 2013

You’ve finally left the rat race behind for some peace, quiet and relaxation. To help make retirement a breeze, Rhea Dhanbhoora & Priyanka Singh give senior citizens some tips on how to live life healthy, an insight into insurance plans and numbers you need keep handy so that you can enjoy the swinging sixties without a hitch

So, your golden years are upon you — but you already know that life is no walk in the park. Along with the freedom that comes from being at the stage in your life where you have the time to pursue your hobbies, relax and unwind, you also need to start taking better care of your health, managing your finances and deal with living alone and suffering from ailments that arise with old age. But, there’s no reason not to enjoy your retirement in a healthy, happy and meaningful manner. Here’s a guide to getting started.

Committing to a routine of physical activity is one of the healthiest decisions you can make. Before you get moving though, read our tips on how to be safe while exercising.

  • Get medical clearance from your doctor before starting an exercise program, especially if you have pre-existing conditions. Ask if there are any activities you should avoid.
  • Consider health concerns. Keep in mind how your ongoing health problems affect your workouts. For example, diabetics may need to adjust the timings of their medication and meal plans when setting an exercise schedule. Above all, if something feels wrong, such as sharp pain or unusual shortness of breath, simply stop. You may need to scale back or try another activity.
  • Start slow. If you haven’t been active in a while, it can be harmful to go “all out.” Instead, build up your exercise program little by little. Try spacing workouts in ten-minute increments twice a day. Or try just one class each week. Prevent crash-and-burn fatigue by warming up, cooling down and keeping water handy.
  • Commit to an exercise schedule for at least three or four weeks so that it becomes habit.
  • Stay motivated by focusing on short-term goals, such as improving your mood and energy levels and reducing stress, rather than goals such as weight loss, which take longer to achieve.
  • Recognise problems in your routine. Exercise should never hurt or make you feel lousy. If it does, stop exercising immediately and call your doctor if you feel dizzy or short of breath, develop chest pain or pressure, break out in a cold sweat, or experience pain. Also, stop if a joint is red, swollen or tender to touch.

Fitness guru, Vinod Channa tells us, “As you get older, you need to remember that your joints and bones become weak and your skin sags because of muscle loss. Due to this lack of muscle, there is more pressure on your joints and bones. But, with freehand exercise, your joints and bones become stronger.” Take a look at some of the ways he suggests senior citizens can stay in shape. Regardless of which one you choose, remember to ask your doctor before starting it and do something that you enjoy — since at this age, you’re not chasing a particular weight or size and just need to stay active and healthy.

  • Weight Training: Weight training is surprisingly beneficial for senior citizens because it helps build the muscle you’ve lost because of age. It helps tone, shape and give strength to your muscles. Light walking, cycling or low impact skipping (depending on your age and health) is a good idea.
  • Yoga: Do a lot of yoga. It’s the best way to stay flexible, perform your daily activities without getting tired and it also helps avoid injuries and stress. Yoga can also improve mind-body co-ordination, something that’s crucial as you get older.
  • Swimming: Spend your retirement in the pool, because swimming is a great way to strengthen lower back, gluts and joints. It’s a good exercise for people who have joint related problems.
  • Pilates: Pilates helps with light movement, which strengthens your joints and builds muscle.
  • Walking: This is a no-brainer. If you’re a senior citizen, make sure you walk — a lot! Even if you can’t do any other exercises, you should walk to improve your endurance.
  • Cycle: If you’re over 60 and don’t think hitting the gym is your cup of tea anymore, try cycling. It helps improve your heart rate and keeps you active, without being too intensive.
  • Aerobics: If you still like to dance, try aerobics as the rhythm and music builds stamina and joint mobility. It’s a fun workout, but make sure it doesn’t get too intense.
  • Squash: Squash can be intensive as well as a light, comfortable sport that helps cardio and mind-body co-ordination. It keeps you active and fit, so go ahead and learn the sport — you don’t have to play it competitively, just enough to keep you moving.
  • Aqua yoga: Exercises in the water are relaxing and great for senior citizens because they help increase flexibility and joint mobility without causing any injuries.

As you grow older, you’ll notice how much more money you’re suddenly spending on your health. Since you’re no longer in your twenties and thirties, where every illness could be solved with one or two days of bedrest, medical bills, regular checkups and unforeseen illnesses can dig a hole in your pocket and you don’t want to spend your golden years of retirement paying debts. While government related medical aid and plans are beneficial, if you can afford a private plan, there’s nothing like it. All health insurance plans have their pros and cons, so make sure you get an advisor to help you out before making your decision. To help you, we give you a list of some of the good health plans that are available for senior citizens.

This plan not only provides you with health insurance but is also a health wellness program, with a health line to provide you with tips on health related queries, tie ups with gyms and a knowledge centre to help you get educated and stay up to date on health.
Contact 24x7 Helpline 18002667780/ 1800119966 (From MTNL/BSNL lines only) or visit www.tataaigwellsurance.com

This plan covers hospital cash benefits as well as a few major surgeries (ask which ones before making a decision) under the major surgical benefit scheme. You also are eligible for double benefits if you have medical complications and have to be admitted to the ICU and the plan covers parents, children and spouses all in the same plan — which makes it a good family plan.
Contact www.licindia.in

The maximum age limit to enter this plan is 74-years-old, so however late you want to start planning your health insurance, go ahead. The plan also requires you to take only simple tests and declare any pre-existing illnesses you may be suffering from.
Contact www.starhealth.in

The plan has a complete care package for the entire family and good options for senior citizens, especially since there’s treatment available all over the world and no limit on the maximum age of entry. There’s also the option of auto recharge and daily allowances. Insured members also get health checkups every year.
Contact Call 18002004488 toll free

Bajaj Allianz Silver Health
With higher health costs, this plan protects both you and your spouse when you’re in need of medical care. They cover pre-existing illnesses, have in-house health claim administration teams and promise quick disbursement of claims. They cover ambulance charges in an emergency as well as hospitalisation expenses. Age of entry goes up to 70 years.
Contact 8002333355 toll free

Who says life after 60 can’t be playful? You need intimacy no matter how old you are, so don’t let the age factor ruin your sex life. This is not the time to worry about performance or stress about the end result. It should be an enjoyable stress buster that helps you and your partner stay intimate and connected. Not to mention how many health benefits the act has for your heart and mind. Take a look at some positions that you can try that won’t strain your back, heart or muscles too much. Just remember, there’s never an age limit on practicing safe sex.

  • The Cross: In this position the man is lying down on his side to avoid back pain, while the woman lies on her back with her legs placed over his hips, forming a cross shape. You can avoid muscle strain but achieve the same pleasure.
  • The spoon: In this position, you can enjoy your lovemaking without having to twist and turn into any position. You can lay on your side, with both partners facing the same way. Your head can be placed near your partner’s feet or next to their heads — either way works just fine.
  • On top: The reason this age-old is a favourite is because it’s one of the simplest ways to have sex. But, you don’t have to limit it to a missionary position. The person with less strength (man or woman) should lie on their back and your partner should be above.

Last week we told you how a recent UK based study revealed that the recommended level of safe drinking for older people needs to be reduced. Today, we tell you how much you should be drinking. If you are above 65, you should have no more than seven drinks a week and no more than three drinks a day. Do you have a health problem? Are you taking certain medicines? You may need to drink less or not drink at all. Talk to your doctor to find out. Below is a break-up on how much one drink should be:

  • One 354ml can or bottle of regular beer.
  • One 236ml can or bottle of malt liquor.
  • One 147ml glass of red or white wine.
  • One 44ml shot glass of hard liquor (spirits) such as gin, vodka, rum or whiskey.

According to the Mumbai police, a majority of the offenses against senior citizens are committed by people who are known to the victims such as their house help, watchmen and helpers. On their website, Mumbai police have listed down the dos and don’ts for senior citizens. We tell you about them:

  • Never discuss financial matters in front of your house help or in public.
  • It is always safer to deposit your valuables in a safe deposit vault of your bank.
  • Treat your house help in a humane way.
  • Do not allow any relatives or friends of your house help to visit your house. If they have frequent visitors, get their backgrounds checked by the police and try to have a contact number of these people.
  • Inform your neighbour, housing society and closest police station that you stay alone (or with an aged partner).
  • Use of modern security gadgets is always advantageous. Door alarms, electronic eye bells and hidden cameras are easily available in the market.
  • Install a peephole in your front door and always check the identity of strangers before you let them inside your home.
  • Never leave spare keys in open or conventional hiding places.
  • Verify the identity of any repairmen who visit your home.
  • Inform your society about any visitors and ask that they be checked at the gate of the society before entering.
  • When you admit a workman or a salesman, make sure you do not leave him alone even for a second.

Keep the nearby hospital, ambulance, fire brigade, police station, closest neighbour and a family member’s numbers on speed dial or write them down on a sheet of paper and place it on the wall of your living room or on the fridge. Here are some common emergency numbers that you must always keep handy:

  • Help Age India: 18001801253
  • Senior Citizens Helpline: 613811111
  • Fire emergency number for Mumbai: 3085991
  • Ambulance services: 1298/ 32421111
  • Senior Citizen Association: 25219802
  • Elderline: 1090
  • Special care unit for senior citizen: 26483286
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