1. The Key to Happiness When You are Retired

    September 7, 2013

    Retirement and happiness

    Retirement is a time that many people look forward to with anticipation and excitement. After years of hard work, it is often seen as a fantastic opportunity to try new things, see new sights and have a well-deserved break.


    However, it is also a time of adjustment. Some retirees find that they are at a loss without the structure of a working week and there can be questions of ‘how am I going to fill the time?’ For some, retirement can be a period of uncertainty and even unhappiness – particularly in the very early stages. According to clinical psychologists, retirement could cause existential anxiety and lead to severe depression. Experts suggest that the key to living retirement years to the full is by keeping both the mind and the body active. This is something that is true for people of all ages, but retirement offers the opportunity to explore new ways of doing so. And that’s the great thing about retirement; retirees have the freedom and time to maximize living life to the fullest. But what are the best ways of keeping the mind and body active and how can retirees increase their sense of happiness and wellbeing? The key is to remain positive and open minded. Positive outlook and optimism is the best strategy to face challenges in your new life. Positive psychology shows that one can see things more clearly with positive thinking and positive attitude to changes, it makes you healthier. This is a new start, a new opportunity,  time to make new friend, get new hobbies, and explore new places. In this article we will focus on “exploring new places”, retirement is an ideal time to see the world.


    As the philosopher Saint Augustine famously said, ‘the world is a book, those who do not travel only read a page’. Travelling has long been thought of as one of the best ways to stimulate the mind, particularly through seeing different sights and cultures. Whether you decide to have a short break or a more extended travel adventure, exploring the world is a great way of broadening the mind, learning new skills and also simply relaxing. For retirees, the travelling options available are boundless and can be catered to fit with particular lifestyles or health requirements. Listed below are some travel suggestions and a little information on why they are key to your wellbeing and keeping you positive, happy, healthy and fulfilled.


    Cruise holidays


    Sometimes known as ‘floating hotels’, cruises are a great way of seeing the world from the comfort of luxury accommodation. Cruises are often seen as holidays in themselves, but the various stop-offs mean that you can see a wide variety of countries and cultures too. This not only expands our awareness as travellers, but also introduces us to greater diversity. Visiting new places is also a fantastic way of keeping our minds stimulated, primarily because it provides the opportunity to keep learning about places and historical events. Education is a lifelong pleasure, and cruise holidays are a great way to see and do lots of new things.


    Not only that, but cruises are also an ideal way to de-stress and rejuvenate our social lives. Most cruise boats have onboard entertainment, spas and activities for voyagers to take part in, meaning you can choose to simply relax by the pool or get involved with something more active. Cruise journeys are also renowned for being one of the most social means of travelling, and many travellers come away with lifelong friends following a cruise. As most people will know, a healthy social life is key to happiness and life fulfillment, so it is worth bearing in mind this benefit if you are thinking of taking a cruise holiday in retirement. There are a number of different types of cruises available, both on the ocean or on rivers, so it is simply a case of choosing what suits you and your interests.


    Caravanning and touring


    Many retirees are conscious about their budget when it comes to travelling, so it is worth remembering that you can still gain all of the benefits of travel whilst holidaying locally. In fact, discovering what our home countries have to offer can be even more satisfying. Furthermore, connecting directly with nature has been proven to have a positive effect on both the body and the mind, as stress levels are reduced and pulse rates drop. Caravanning or touring is a great way of connecting with nature in this way and they also provide the opportunity to ‘go where the road takes you’. It can be a relatively cheaper option for retirees that are watching what they spend and travel activities can include anything from sightseeing to walking.


    For those who want something similar to caravanning but a bit unusual, a canal boat holiday is worth considering. Many find that the peaceful, slow pace of barge travelling is extremely stress relieving and contributes significantly to their sense of wellbeing.


    Short weekend breaks


    For retirees that want to travel but don’t want an extended holiday, short weekend breaks are a fantastic opportunity to explore a variety of cultures and sightsee. Whether you decide to explore your local area or venture further afield, a short break can be a great way to get involved with travel without committing to too much. Short breaks are especially good as a way of breaking routine and having some time away from daily life. This can be hugely beneficial in terms of health and wellbeing, and many return home feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.


    These are just a few travel suggestions for people over 50 and it is quite clear to see what a positive impact travelling has on both the body and the mind. Whether you choose to go with some of these suggestions or form a travel plan of your own, retirees should think about taking some time to travel during retirement. The benefits are boundless and it really is worth doing whilst you have the freedom and the time to do so.


    Author Bio: This article was written by Lauren on behalf of LaterLife. For more travel tips for the over 50s, visit LaterLife’s travel section.

    Image Credit: Pietro Izzo – http://www.flickr.com/photos/22443621@N00/337320909

  2. How to Keep Fit While Travelling

    June 7, 2013

    keep fit

    By Sohaib Siddique

    My two biggest passions in life are fitness and adventure. I have never lived in one country longer than two years—half of the time which is usually spent visiting regions around me. As a kid, I’ve also always been into health and fitness. Missing a workout ruins an entire day for me, even when I am on vacation. But over the past few years, I have taught myself how to travel without sacrificing my health and fitness. This way I could dedicate my life to both my biggest passions. I picked up tips along my travels by talking to other people who were in great shape. Here are a few of them.

    You don’t need a whole gym…

    If you let your creative mind run free, you can use random things to replace weights. There’s always an item that can get blood running through your veins and your muscles pumped. If you feel like spending money, you could always get inflatable weights to fill up with water, but those would be a disaster in my opinion. You could use litre bottles, chairs, tables, rocks filled into a backpack—the options are endless. Rather complaining about not having a gym, make your own gym.

    Your body is heavier than you think…

    The experienced gym rats know very well that bodyweight exercises can prove very effective. In fact, all you need is some empty space and you’re good. If you need a workout matt, just use a couple towels.

    Do push ups for your chest, arms and shoulders. If you cannot do a complete push up, do the knee-variation instead. If you need more resistance, then elevate your feet off a chair, a table or anything else. Not a big fan of push ups?—no problem, do dips instead. Just put two chairs together with some weight on them (like your suitcase) and you’re good. Dips essentially work the same muscle groups push ups do.

    There’s no better lower body exercise than the squat. Squats are the ultimate mass builder—when I travel, I fill up my backpack with anything I can find—rocks are a great way to get a lot of weight without too much volume. Just throw that on and do some squats making sure you go deep each time to maximize resistance. Finish off with a core workout of crunches and sit ups. Again, you can hold a water bottle against your chest if you need more resistance.

    Travelling solo sucks, travel with a chin up bar instead…

    You would be surprised with the amount of exercises you could do using a simple door-mounted chin up bar. These bars only cost $25-30 and easily fit into suitcases. They mount onto most doors across the world and prove as a great workout aid. You can perform chins/pulls with different grips to get a complete back workout. Take it off the door and onto the floor to use the grips as push up handles. You can be creative and work different body parts as long as you know what you’re doing. P90x has some great exercises that use chin up bars to target different muscle groups.

    Still need a gym? Then use one…

    Sometimes, you just can’t get enough resistance no matter how much weight is piled onto your back. More advanced trainees should turn to public facilities when they’re travelling at this point. I’ve done this many times, and all you really need to do is go to the local gym and ask them if you can give it a trial day. Nine times out of ten they’ll be more than happy to give the new local who has just moved in a go at with their facilities. Remember, most cities have more than one gym, so give them all a “try”. Hey, we have to do whatever it takes to stay in shape!

    Modern day European cities are filled with public stations and parks that make a great outdoor gym, too. All you really need are some monkey bars and an improvised dips station and you’re set.

    God gave you legs to use them…

    We often find ourselves walking, running and even hiking from here to there when we’re away from home—and the bags can get pretty heavy. This is really good exercise, but if you’re someone who usually does a lot of running and other cardiovascular exercise anyway, then you will miss the rush you usually get. But now that you’re travelling, you have all the free time you can possibly get. Go for a run before you start your next exciting day. It’s a good way to get to know your surroundings when you’re on the road, too.

    If you’re really a cardio bunny, then you could rent a bike or throw on some roller blades for the day. There are always fun ways to combine tourist activities and exercise. Always think outside the box.