Port scene

Health and wellbeing

Our general wellbeing relates to all aspects of our health, both physical and mental, and tends to fall hand in hand with our overall level of happiness.

Whether it’s learning a new skill, volunteering or just simply staying fit and active, looking after your wellbeing can play a big role in helping you make the most of your retirement.

Staying fit and active

There’s no doubt that staying fit and active is good for our physical health, but it can also make a massive difference to our mental wellbeing too.

Even if you’re not particularly active at the moment, it’s never too late to start.

Maintaining a fit and active lifestyle doesn’t have to be a chore and you can build it into part of your weekly routine. Whether it’s walking to the shops instead of driving or attending an exercise class at your local club/gym, every little helps.

The Age UK website includes a useful section on ‘The 4 building blocks to being active’, where you can find tips and suggestions on what type of exercise might suit you and information on the health benefits of a number of activities. The NHS choices website also has some useful information about healthy living and fitness.

Volunteering

Volunteering doesn’t just provide you with an opportunity to put your skills and interests to good use – it is also a great way to socialise and meet new people.

You can decide how much or how little of your time you can afford to give and choose a role that fits around your existing commitments.

Most towns have volunteer centers which aim to match potential volunteers with local organisations. For more information, go to the following websites:

NCVO  – The National Council for Voluntary Organisations will be able to provide information about a wide range of opportunities and how to get involved. 

Reach  – The organisation Reach finds part-time, expenses only jobs for retired business people who want to use their skills to help charitable organisations in areas including management, IT, marketing and accountancy etc. 

Do-it  – The volunteering website ‘Do-it’ lists opportunities in your area and overseas. The site has over one million volunteer vacancies UK-wide.

Lifelong learning

It’s never too late to start learning a new skill, and with potentially more time on your hands now you’ve finished work, retirement may be the perfect time to start.

Whether it’s brushing up on your computer skills, learning a foreign language or studying for a degree, the opportunities for further learning today are excellent so why not see if there’s a course out there for you.

A good place to get started is by visiting your local library, which will be able to provide a list of courses and activities in your local area. Some useful starting points include:

The Open University (OU) – If you are interested in a particular subject and would like to study it in more depth, the OU might be a good option for you. Most courses do not require any previous qualifications and there are around 600 to choose from. The great thing about the OU is that it specialises in distance learning so you can study from your own home. For more information, call 0300 303 5303 or visit the OU website.

University of the Third Age (U3A) – The U3A is a self-help organisation for people no longer in full-time employment providing educational, creative and leisure activities. To find out more visit the U3A website or call 0208 466 6139.

The Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) – The WEA is the UK’s largest voluntary provider of adult education. It has over 450 local branches offering courses on subjects such as local history, current affairs and literature. For more information, visit the WEA website.