Tools for life

Retirement is the perfect opportunity to live the life of your dreams.

If you have always wanted to be an astronaut or Batman, it might be a bit of a challenge, but there are possibilities of downloading a star at night app or joining Neighbourhood watch.

All the research coming through from the USA, China and Japan is that lifestyle choices rather than medical intervention can provide a healthier life. We could be a little cynical and say: they would say that, wouldn't they? because with an ageing population, they all want to keep health costs down and stop the older people clogging up the wards.

However, the research also shows that while we are indeed beginning to show the signs of ageing, we are in fact healthier than the next two tranches coming up.

Why?

Well, we grew up in a different era, We ate simpler food,- a lot of it just boiled. We played outside. Children today have to go to camps to learn how to play outside. It will be difficult to produce skilled football players because the children are not outside kicking a ball against a wall and without knowing it, developing their motor skills.

It also had us taking in deep breaths of fresh air, which is better than a load of medication and is free. But, even better if outside.

Although in many ways, life was tough, we were more resilient, did not expect to be a celebrity or exceptional. We were happy to be average and normal.

Having a sensible diet of lots of vegetables, some fruit, dairy products and meat promotes healthy muscle development and sturdy bones. Bones and muscles also need exercise. Lots of running around, raising the heartbeat, digesting the food and letting go of the emotions. Without knowing it, we were also developing a healthy mental attitude.

Religion was part of our lives, which meant that we developed a spiritual awareness. We knew there was something that was good, that was greater than us, but looked after us.

We were encouraged to help others. We spent out time looking for people to help. We loved saying our prayers. We could express our troubles and put our trust in the divine that somehow (It's a mystery) things would work out for the best.

These are our tools. We can control them ourselves. We can incorporate them into our lives in whichever way is most convenient to us. It is mostly free.

Put a little more thought into the food you eat. Avoid processed food. It is ironic ( lost of course on the vegans) that most of the meat substitutes are processed and contain up to 18 ingredients. Buy good quality, locally produced food. This is getting more difficult in Ireland as farmer after farmer loses heart and gives up farming. A very small percentage of our food is produced in Ireland. Expect to pay a bit more. You will save by buying less rubbish and having less packaging.

There we have out tools: Exercise- Walking is terrific, with a bit of stretching

Food- Simple, local food, with lots of vegetables.

Breathing- Out in fresh air, take 10 deep breaths

Sleep- if you cannot manage 7 straight hours, divide it up

and be like the ancient Irish with codhladh beag and mor . Do a random act of kindness and expect no thanks

Say a prayer: no matter what your belief system-even if you have none

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