Episode #8 – Living a Healthy Lifestyle in Retirement

“Time and health are two precious assets that we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted.” – Denis Waitley 

Hello and welcome to the “Get There On Purpose Retirement Podcast”. I’m your host Dustin Hunter. With me is our co-host and podcast engineer Caleb Crane. The goal of this show is to help you be intentional with your retirement planning, so you can retire “on purpose” and just as importantly “with purpose”!

“The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered “Man! Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

Craig Groeschel, the founder of Lifechurch.tv, wrote the book “Chazown” – which is the Hebrew word for Vision. One of the main takeaways from the book is the idea that “Where there is no vision, the people perish”. Groeschel defines 5 areas of life (or Spokes on a wheel) to focus on being intentional about and developing an overall vision (or plan). Those spokes are:

1. Relationship with God

2. Relationships with People

3. Financial Health

4. Physical Health

5. Work Life

While we focus much of our time on the “Financial Health” spoke, today, we are going to also spend some time discussing Physical Health and Spiritual Health (or Relationship with God).

Yeah, so let’s go through some of the things we are going to talk about on the episode today. First we want to talk about physical health.  Staying active physically as well as being intentional with what we eat can help make retirement life longer as well as more enjoyable along the way. Next, we’ll discuss how mental and emotional health affect your everyday activities.  We’ll cover the idea of building a community around you to improve your wellbeing. 

After that, we will share what we believe to be the most important aspect of life, spiritual health. Spiritual health relates to every other part of your life whether you realize it or not. Many times, it gets ignored because it is more cerebral and complex than the physical – which you can see right in front of you. We’ll look at some ways to be intentional and build good Spiritual habits. Lastly, as always, we want to give you some takeaways and action steps that you can implement right now to start building a good foundation for your physical and spiritual health in retirement. We also want to give you some resources that you can check out and make it personal for you. 

Let’s begin by talking about physical health. The first part of physical health that we want to cover is nutrition. If we’re being honest, nutrition is probably one of the hardest parts of our physical health. There are so many great foods out there, but they aren’t always the most healthy for us. That’s why so many people struggle with not only staying motivated to eat healthy foods, but also finding healthy foods that taste good. Ask yourself how many Olympic athletes perform at their peak level while putting any old ‘random fuel’ in their tank as they prepare for their event? And the quality of that fuel is equally important for our mental or brain health as it is for our physical or body health.

Let’s talk about what goals you should set for yourself when it comes to nutrition. Figuring out your caloric needs is important. To do this, you will need to look up a “caloric calculator” and you will have to input your age, gender, height, and weight. It will give you the goal amount of calories that you should hit every day. You should also talk to a dietician if possible because they can set up a nutrition plan that will help you meet these goals. 

Another important part of nutrition is not only the amount of calories you need to eat, but the types of macronutrients that those calories come from. Macronutrients are fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Again, you can look up macronutrient calculators online or talk to a dietician about specific needs. Once you have those goals laid out, stick to the plan you’ve put together. This will help you stay healthy before and through retirement. 

One last thing we have to say about nutrition is that it’s also important to avoid ultra-processed foods. Generally speaking: the more processed a food is, the less good it is for you. Brain foods tend to include vegetables, berries, and nuts. Whereas, whole grains, lean meats, and other fruits tend to be good for the heart and body foods. 

Now, let’s talk a little bit about exercise. Set some fitness goals for the year and the current month. Build a structured workout routine based on those goals. Try to be as consistent as possible. If you don’t have weights at your house, no problem, think about joining a gym. There are higher quality gyms like LA Fitness or Anytime Fitness. Memberships might be $20-$50 a month. There are other lower priced fitness gyms like Planet Fitness or VASA Fitness maybe in the $10 per month range. Lower priced memberships give you only the basics of a gym, but in reality that’s really all you need to get started to transform yourself. Staying physically fit is an important part of that healthy retirement. 

Let’s get into daily physical activity as a follow up to that. This is the more general area that includes exercise. You want to aim for 150 minutes of activity per week. That’s a little over 20 minutes a day. This could include fitness, stretching, yoga, or even just going for a 20 minute walk. Incorporating movement into your daily routine is extremely important for staying healthy. 

Studies have shown that sitting for prolonged periods of time can lead to metabolic risk and cardiovascular morbidity. This basically means that too much sitting can lower your metabolic rate (or your body’s processing rate and how much energy your body expends in a normal day), leading to easier weight gain which in turn is harmful to your health. You don’t have to go overboard and never sit down, but make sure that you’re taking time each day to move, stand up, break a sweat, get out, do something. This will have a major positive impact on your physical health.

Now, many of you listening to this are like “Yes, I agree I need to do something – but that is too much to think about – and it just isn’t going to happen. I have good news for you! In the book Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about how to successfully develop habits over time. This might be as simple as getting up at a certain time, putting on your workout clothes, and simply driving by the gym on the way to or from work. Establish that very simple, very small step as a habit for a week, then add another step like walking for 10 minutes once you’re there. Small or atomic changes over time add up to big things. This is the same as in your financial life regularly saving a small amount of money – over time, that adds up.

The last part of our physical health that we want to mention is sleep. Sleep is crucial to our physical health. With the “Hustle Culture” that is being promoted these days, it seems like sleep is becoming less and less important. Sleep is an essential part of our ability to function. We need proper rest to recharge our batteries and perform at a higher level with intentionality every day. Without getting too far into the weeds, there are a couple different stages of sleep. Overall, scientists suggest aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. 

Within those hours of sleep, there are two cycles of sleep that you will experience. Those are non-REM sleep and REM sleep. REM stands for rapid eye movement. It’s important to get as much REM sleep as possible because this is what helps your body truly recover and mentally process the information that you took in that day. There are many different places to do more research on sleep, but we suggest checking out the Andrew Huberman podcast that will be in the show notes below because he talks about bodily recovery and how to get the best sleep possible.

Now that we have talked about physical health in a few ways, we want to check in on emotional and mental health. This area has seen a lot of research and improvement in understanding, but it is still in its infancy regarding a full understanding. Covid provided a valuable case study – causing people to feel lonely and isolated – and we are just starting to appreciate the negative after effects.  There are many ways that you can make sure that you take care of your mental and emotional health. 

One of the most important ways that you can improve all areas of your health, but most importantly your mental and emotional health, is by connecting with other people. Having healthy relationships boosts your mood and keeps you mentally sharp. But, it takes effort and intentionality to plan for and take the time to interact with other people. You can also ask your friends to keep you accountable as you work toward goals you are trying to achieve. This can be one of the most powerful motivators in life. A habit tracking app for your phone, a journal, and even a daily reminder is not as powerful as having a friend who is willing to keep you accountable to the goals you have set for yourself. 

Another way to stay mentally and emotionally healthy is by staying physically healthy. It’s important to note that your body is not separate from your mind and emotions. Exercising produces hormones that not only help your physical body, but also provide a mental and emotional benefit. This is why making it a goal to stay physically active is so important. People that answer phones have been trained to physically smile while doing so because it has a mental and emotional benefit – even though the other person on the phone can’t see that. Runners often talk about something called a ‘runner’s high’ from the release of hormones and endorphins due to that physical activity. Constantly pushing yourself to face new challenges can also keep your mind from slowing down. You get benefits even from incorporating some small daily activities into your life – such as taking the stairs, walking around the block, or riding a bike.

It may sound counterintuitive that spending time on other things will help you get more done, but that’s exactly how it works. Hobbies that bring you joy are a good example of activities that lead to being happier and more productive. You stay mentally sharp and emotionally in check when you take time out of your day to do things that you really enjoy. Think of it as mental cross training when you incorporate something like a hobby. This leads to a better experience at work and in other areas of life. 

The last thing that we want to talk about when it comes to mental and emotional health is setting goals for yourself. If you are not pushing yourself to achieve new things, you will most likely get stuck doing the same things every day. This can cause your emotional health to suffer which will in turn cause your mental health to suffer. Goals in this area may include reading a new book, learning a new skill, making a new friend, adopting a pet, or completing a physical project.

Now, let’s move on to spiritual health. The most important aspect of living a healthy lifestyle in retirement is promoting spiritual health. Like we have talked about already, having a community of people around you is very important for every aspect of your life. This is no different when it comes to the spiritual side. This includes a community of believers around you that will encourage when you’re down, help you in times of need, keep you accountable, and help you grow in your personal faith. 

There are many other ways to boost your spiritual health as well. First, you want to develop good habits. Creating time every day and every week to meditate, pray, and spend time in devotion. Remember, starting small and simple is the trick for establishing habits that can become a baseline for that spiritual health. A second thing that is truly important to building up your spiritual health is finding ways to serve others. This could be through your church or other community centers that provide opportunities to serve. The act of giving of your time particularly (or even giving of your money) can bring joy and satisfaction. I think that that’s because it reminds us that the world is a big place, there are lots of people in need, and we are not actually at the center of that world. While there may be no material gain from serving, it is one of the best things you can do to boost mood and improve your spiritual health and benefit others as you are doing so. 

The last thing we would like to mention is spending some time in prayer. We referenced this when we talked about building good habits.The reason prayer is so important is because it is an ongoing conversation with God. Imagine trying to build a friendship with someone that you only reach out to once or twice a year. You’re not going to get very far. If you aren’t ready for prayer, start by simply closing your eyes, being quiet, setting aside the day’s busyness, and meditating on the top two or three important things to improve in your life at that time.

As we wrap up today, we like to make sure you have some actionable steps to take from this podcast so that you can get started as soon as possible on building a life you love. Dustin, could you talk through some steps that our listeners can implement right now to optimize their situation?

Sure, thanks Caleb!

1. Start building healthy habits (eating healthy, getting good sleep, and exercising regularly and even daily)

a. Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

b. Talk to a dietician or someone involved in nutrition about what you currently eat and work with them to build a plan around your macronutrient and calorie needs.

c. Talk to a trainer or do some research online to build an exercise routine that not only will help you stay fit, but also that you’ll enjoy and will stay motivated to stick with. Find a routine that fits your lifestyle and preferences. And remember, you don’t have to dive in and do it all the very first day. Start small, add one tiny habit on top of the next and you will get there. It adds up over time.

d. Find a training buddy, also known as an accountability partner, to keep you on track for your goals. It’s important to have someone that can push you and that you can also push toward their goals.

e. Check out the resources listed in the episode notes to find a fit for your needs.

f. Start small with 1 very easy step, then build on that step.


2. Build a strong community of people around you that you can connect with

Brian Solis, a global innovation evangelist at Salesforce, said that community is about doing something together that makes belonging matter. That is the core reason why building a community of people around you that you enjoy hanging out and connecting with is so important. This especially goes for people who are in retirement. It’s easy to get stuck in a constant cycle of loneliness that occurs when you have nothing to do but be around the house and no planned activities. This is where having that community gives you the ability to go enjoy new experiences, build new relationships, and keep your heart and mind filled with the joy that comes with the presence of others.  It’s a lot easier than most people think to find that community. All you need to do is write down the hobbies that appeal to you the most. Look up clubs or centers that have programs that maybe support those hobbies. Try to sign up for a club or center that fits within that schedule and has constant meeting times so you can start to build a habit at a particular time!

3. Volunteer somewhere in your community. 

Volunteering is important for the heart and soul. If you feel like your time is being taken away by unimportant or mundane activities, try to find a place to volunteer. People feel better when they give of themselves and this would be the perfect way to give your time to organizations that need it. You could find a local homeless shelter, food pantry, or a church that would certainly appreciate your willingness to volunteer and help. As you feel called to do more, you could find other organizations that you would like to volunteer with. If you want to find opportunities for yourself, check out volunteermatch.org to check out some cool ways to volunteer. We are not affiliated with them nor do we get anything from them, but it’s a good place to check out.

Thank you so much for tuning in to this week’s episode of the “Get There On Purpose Retirement Podcast”. Remember, you can reach out to us at getthereonpurposeretirement.com and submit your questions by clicking the “Submit a Question” tab. If you like our content, share our podcast with a friend so that we can help others on their retirement journey as well. Our mission is to help you get where you want to be in retirement “on purpose and with purpose”. We’ll see you on the next episode!


Remember, we don’t know the details of your unique situation, so don’t make decisions solely based on this podcast. Consult with a financial advisor familiar with your unique financial situation prior to making any financial decisions. Nothing in this podcast constitutes a solicitation of the sale or purchase of any security or financial product and should not be construed as investment advice. Any rates of return are historical or hypothetical in nature and are not a guarantee of future results. 

Dustin Hunter is an Investment Advisor Representative of Sunrift Capital Partners, a registered investment advisor in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Arizona. Insurance and annuities are offered through Dustin Hunter. Dustin and Sunrift are affiliated.