Plan for a Healthy Retirement
It’s never too soon to start preparing for retirement. Although most middle-aged people say they hope to be physically active in retirement, a great many follow a lifestyle that almost certainly sabotages that goal. Here are a few tips for improving your odds of living to retirement age enjoying it once you get there.
- Stop Smoking. Smoking often causes potentially life-shortening and life-degrading health problems, including cancer, emphysema, heart disease, and ulcers. Kicking the habit will likely have a more positive influence on a smoker’s retirement years than any other act.
- Control Blood Pressure. By age 60, 60% of Americans have blood pressure so high it should be medically treated, and millions more are at a substantially increased risk of heart attack or stroke.1 You can start to control your blood pressure with some of the healthy habits listed in this article, such as watching your weight and quitting smoking, as well as exercising regularly and monitoring your blood pressure at home.²
- Clean Up Your Diet. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and cut back on fatty, salty, and calorie-laden foods.
- Watch Your Weight. One-third of American adults are significantly overweight. As a result, they are at a much higher risk for a number of diseases, including heart attack, cancer, and diabetes.
- Control Cholesterol. Excess “bad” cholesterol, known as LDL cholesterol, means fatty gunk is building up in your blood vessels. For people in midlife with high LDL cholesterol, a 1% drop reduces the risk of heart disease by 2-3%. For most people, the best way to lower cholesterol is to lose weight and exercise.
- Get an annual preventive exam. Forty years ago, an annual exam rarely did much good, because tests couldn’t spot more than a few serious health problems early enough to help. That’s no longer true. Some important checks: cholesterol tests, colon examinations, mammograms, pap smears (to detect cervical cancer), and prostate exams.
Our ACA Rewards program offers a $25 gift card for completing your annual preventive exam with your primary care physician (PCP). Login at BlueKC.com/ACARewards for details and to register. If you don’t have a PCP, find one by visiting your member portal at MyBlueKC.com. Select Find Care in the left column, then enter any of the following in the search bar: PCP, family medicine, internal medicine, general practice, pediatrician, or a specific provider name. Once you have selected a PCP, we encourage you to call Customer Service at (866) 859-3822 (TTY:711) and notify Blue KC so we can associate your PCP with our records.
If you’re a Spira Care member, schedule your $0³ wellness exam at one of nine Spira Care Centers in the Kansas City metro area by calling (913) 297-7472 or visit SpiraCare.com.
As you near retirement and turn 65, Blue KC has multiple Medicare Advantage plans that may fit your needs. Call (855) 208-8246 (TTY:711) or visit MedicareBlueKC.com for more information.
¹Center for Science in the Public Interest
²10 ways to control blood pressure without medication. MayoClinic.org.
³Services must be completed at a Spira Care Center, and you must have a Blue KC plan with Spira Care.