Staying healthy and happy

57-year-old Madam Joanne Lim (fourth from left) floats in the swimming pool as 150 seniors participate in water aerobics at Senja-Cashew Community Centre as part of North West CDC's launch of the North West SwimSafer Clubs for seniors on Jun 6, 2014.
PHOTO: Staying healthy and happy

SINGAPORE - Retirement means different things to different people but for most, it seems to herald the chance to stay active, often in areas that might not be available when working full time.

Responses to questions posed by The Sunday Times Invest last week found that 44.1 per cent of respondents want to help out charities, undertake volunteer work or get a part-time job.

Another 32.8 per cent plan to stay active through sports or regular exercise, while 16.1 per cent chose travelling as their retirement activity.

Mr Tong Kin Muon, 60, who retired a year ago as executive director of a counselling centre, says: "You need to organise your days for when you have... lots of time on your hands. During the first year, it is difficult to shut things out completely from your previous work life."

He says his daily routine has not changed much over the past six months. "Getting ready for the day include making the bed, washing up, a brief work-out consisting of sit-ups and push-ups, which is followed by a shower. Dressing up is a must to formalise the beginning of another purposeful day."

Mr Tong also spends his time doing research at the library, attending neighbourhood committee meetings and volunteering at charity organisations. "Now more than ever, you need a social life. Be curious about all new things. Try to cultivate a wide range of interests and volunteer work provides excellent retirement activities... It is a matter of organising your days and evenings. Do take action now."

Council for Third Age chief executive Soh Swee Ping adds that having all this time to yourself without serious planning can lead to an unexpected internal tension and even frustration. She says people tend to over-emphasise the financial aspects of retirement, but there is more to think about.

"If you don't have your health and friends or a sense of purpose for your life, you can be the richest man in the world but also the most miserable."

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