retirement

How to Stay Mentally and Physically Fit in Retirement

Sponsored Content from Aviv Clinics

Man pink shorts golfing on sunny course

Most people look forward to retirement as a time to relax and enjoy life after decades of hard work. What if ill-health and the effects of aging get in the way of realizing your dreams?

Fortunately, the right activities and treatment programs can help you maintain – or even improve – your physical and mental wellbeing. Here’s a look at the science behind how to keep yourself at peak condition in retirement.

Step 1:  Stay active with walking and light sports like golf

The evidence is overwhelming: Staying physically active as you age can help prevent illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression and dementia. A Harvard University study involving 12,000 people showed that just one hour of brisk walking each day can halve the impact of 32 obesity-promoting genes, a strong cause of many health disorders.

Those who enjoy more competitive pursuits gain even more benefit. Golf, for example, is a great way to maintain both mental and physical fitness because it combines the benefits of walking with sporting activity.

A study by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden revealed that golfers live an average of five years longer than non-golfers. In addition, a National Institutes of Health study found that golf improves focus and attention, with increased blood flow to the brain and stimulation of the cerebellum, enhancing coordination. Other benefits of moderate aerobic exercise – like playing golf – include increasing the amount of nightly restorative deep sleep.

Golf’s social aspects also provide psychological benefits, guarding against loneliness and increasing happiness. At the same time, playing golf can reduce stress thanks to its outdoor locations, which help reduce cortisol, the “stress hormone.” Being outdoors in the sunlight also promotes the body’s generation of Vitamin D, which is crucial for immune health, muscle function and brain cell activity. Fresh air increases the body’s consumption of oxygen as well.

On top of these benefits, playing a course with 18 holes is simply great exercise. According to Golf.com, walking the course, carrying a bag and swinging a club multiple times uses up a significant amount of energy — enough to burn nearly 1500 calories on average.

Step 2:  Boost cognitive function with a scientifically proven treatment

A healthy body leads to a healthy mind, to paraphrase a common saying. Through specific treatments, you can further improve cognitive function in old age.

One very promising approach is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), available at Aviv Clinics in Central Florida. HBOT involves breathing 100% (pure) oxygen while in a special space called a hyperbaric chamber. The air pressure inside is raised to a level that is higher than normal air pressure, which helps the lungs collect more oxygen.

A study published in the peer-reviewed journal Aging showed that the use of HBOT had demonstrably positive effects on cellular health in aging humans. In the study, oxygen therapy was shown to “increase telomere length by more than 20%” and “decrease cellular senescence by as much as 37%.” These two improvements (both markers of cellular health) can have a big impact on cognitive function.

What’s more, Aging recently published another study showing that HBOT helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease. This landmark study is part of an ongoing program researching age-related cognitive decline conducted by the Sagol School of Neuroscience in Tel Aviv and Tel Aviv University. The research marks the first time that HBOT has proven effective in reversing the main activators and early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Relying on oxygen as a key component of brain function, Aviv has developed a unique HBOT protocol that sparks natural rejuvenation within the body. See more scientific research about the effectiveness of HBOT in improving cognitive performance related to aging, as well as recovery from brain injuries, strokes, erectile dysfunction and Lyme disease.

Step 3:  Get personalized physical and cognitive coaching

Now, you can receive comprehensive professional support for your wellness goals. Even better, this help is available within a clinic-based program tailored to your individual needs.

Aviv has developed an approach that has shown considerable success in counteracting the effects of aging. The program combines HBOT with personalized cognitive and physical training, as well as nutritional coaching.

Aviv opened a 30,000-square-foot scientific medical center (take a virtual tour) in Central Florida at the beginning of 2021 – the first of its kind in North America. Through this center, the MedTech company has been able to deliver its scientifically evidenced medical program to a greater number of people.

The Aviv Medical Program is a unique regimen that begins with comprehensive, in-depth assessments of brain and body function. The results of these assessments are the basis for developing a strategically tailored, client-specific treatment plan targeted for personal improvement goals. 

The impact on the clinic’s clients has been substantial. Concerned about the health of his heart, Richard underwent HBOT at the Florida location, completing treatment in September 2020. “A subsequent scan of my heart showed a 23% reduction in plaque,” he says. “My doctors told me that couldn’t happen.”

Another client, Eileen, had a problem with short-term memory. She also found the program extremely beneficial, with much of her old confidence in her abilities returned. Her husband, Jack, says: “The changes I’ve noticed in my wife have been wonderful.”

While you’re improving your health at Aviv, you can also choose to receive additional, intensive training designed to advance your golf skills through the Golf Performance Program. The program provides intensive training focused on skill and performance, with access to more than 50 golf courses, 12 championship courses, and PGA/LPGA instructors. This training is combined with the standard 12-week medical program of HBOT, personalized cognitive and fitness training, and a nutritional plan.

Global professional golf athlete, Tommy Fleetwood, has recently begun his journey with Aviv Clinics. “It’s a fascinating concept,” Fleetwood says. “The synergies of brain performance and golf are endless, and Professor Shai* is one of the world’s leading doctors in how we can improve our brain function.

“Most athletes understand the positives of hyperbaric treatment,” he explains, “but that, along with cognitive brain training, is something I really think will be the future for an elite athlete.”

Better living in retirement

You can benefit even if you’re not a pro athlete. In fact, the Aviv Medical program combined with the Golf Performance Program promises to make retirement what it should be — a joy. Following the personalized course of treatment combined with world-class training activities can help you get the most out of all the years ahead.

*Shai Efrati, MD, is an associate professor at Tel Aviv University and director of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research at Shamir Medical Center.

This content was provided by Aviv Clinics. Kiplinger is not affiliated with and does not endorse the company or products mentioned above.