I have been told by more than one retiree that just by making the move they feel rejuvenated. This comes as no surprise to me since relocating to a warmer climate with less stress or just getting out of the “rat race” can make one feel a whole lot better.

However, there is more to it than just making the move to staying healthy. I have seen a lot of people come and go during the 34 years I have lived in Costa Rica and noticed that some retirees take their health for granted and adopt an unhealthy lifestyle.

There are a lot of things retirees and others can do to stay healthy while living in Costa Rica. Fresh fruits and vegetables abound here and are affordable. Those who live here should make an effort to included as many of them as possible in their diet. If you don’t like eating fruit then learn to enjoy the many fruit-based juices called frescos or naturals. There are several juice chains which I have written about in previous blogs where you can indulge in a variety of healthy fruit juice blends.

While I am on the subject of liquids hydration is very important to staying healthy in the tropics especially for those retirees who engage in exercise. A recent study demonstrated that nine out of ten people do not drink enough water during the day.

The quantity of water you need depends on if you are a man or woman. Men need three liters of water a day and women two. Tea other beverages can also met your daily need. It is important to remember that you shouldn’t wait until you are thirsty to consume water because thirst indicates that you are dehydrated. Seniors especially need to be conscious of keeping themselves hydrated.

A loss of hydration is one of the biggest factors that impacts how seniors look and feel. It is vital to remember that as we age, our thirst sensation decreases as does our overall body water. Therefore, dehydration occurs more frequently and much more quickly in the elderly. Fluid loss can be very serious affecting the heart, kidneys, brain, and in some severe cases can be life threatening.

Retirees should also be aware that after 60 years of age you require less calories and more nutrients.

That is to say you need to eat less but consume more nutritious foods. In addition, you should eat small portions six or times a day instead of three large meals. After 60 years of age you need about 500 calories a day less according to nutritionists. Believe or not adults over 80 years of age should eat eight small meals per day. Meals should be balanced and include carbohydrates, proteins vegetables and fruits.

Retirees should know that certain foods can increase stress and lead to maladies like gastrointestinal disorders, insomnia, high blood pressure, weakening of the immune system and skin diseases. Some of the foods that might contribute to an increase in stress and the diseases that go with it are: an excess of caffeine, spicy foods, salt, alcohol and sugar.

It is also of paramount importance that those over 60 years of age do moderate low impact exercise to counteract the effects of the loss of muscle mass. If not, they run the risk of contracting osteoporosis which can cause serious consequences and affect one’s independence. Exercise along with protein can help maintain important muscle mass. Walking, swimming and light weights are ideal forms of exercise for seniors.

Finally, it is important for retirees in Costa Rica to work at keeping themselves busy during their free time. Many who retiree get bored and depressed since they have a lot of free time on their hands. Taking Spanish classes, joining a club, dance classes, reading and doing volunteer work are just a few of the many options available in Costa Rica. Above all it is important to socialize and have a network of friends.

Article by Christopher Howard, Live in Costa Rica

Stay up to date with the latest stories by signing up to our newsletter, or following us on Facebook.