They say that police officers when they reach the end of their service and retire, only last about five years before they die. How do you feel about that now that you are retired or are coming up for retirement? I know I would feel a little concerned if I was in that position.
I retired from the Metropolitan Police In December 2006, so I suppose I should be concerned at least until the fifth anniversary of my retirement from the police which will be in December 2011. I personally take my fitness, health and nutrition quite seriously. I have let the fitness go a bit, but I do a lot of walking instead of running or playing soccer. also I pay attention to what I eat and drink, so that I can just feel much better.
But this article is about you and the actions you take when you retire or are within the last year before retirement. Are you still working long hours? If you are then you should be slowing down a little, so that you can ease into the slower pace that will inevitably come I the not too distant future. Now I did not say that you should go from working twelve hours a day to doing very little and I am not suggesting for one minute that when you retire you become inactive, nothing could be further from the truth.
But you will want to take some time out and smell the roses, because I know from experience that most active police officers have their minds on their work and in many cases, do not take care of some of the good things that life has to offer.
So what do you need to take care of during your retirement in relation to your fitness, health and nutrition? Here are a few suggestions to think about.
Your General Health.
Ensure that you read the signs of your body, because it normally tells you if something is wrong or pending. Do not be afraid to go to the Doctor’s surgery if you need to. Do not put anything off, rather be safe than sorry.
Perhaps it could be a great time to consider giving up smoking. Hear me now I am not preaching, it is just a suggestion and to be fair I have never smoked at all.
Your Exercise Regime.
Take stock of what you have been doing up until now and decide if what you have been doing is conducive to your new life. Whatever you do, obviously it is always best to have some plan in place, if you have not been the best at looking after your fitness. It will be your total choice of course, so choose wisely.
A lot of people I know just continue to play golf quite regularly and that is great, but consider some other type of exercise that gets the heart pounding a bit. Now don’t go too mad here, but maybe a bit of power walking or swimming.
It is important to remain active for the rest of your life and for as long as you can. Remember the old maxim, ‘If you don’t use it you lose it.’
Your Sleep Patterns.
Now this is an interesting subject and I think the key here is to look at your current sleep habits and see if you can improve them at all. Everybody is unique here and will find their own balance. But I know as a police officer I usually did not have enough sleep between shifts, mainly because you try to live as normal of a life as possible.
As a serving police officer I used to survive on five to six hours a night. Is that enough? Probably not, so consider increasing your hours slightly. I now have managed to increase my hours to six or seven a night and I really have noticed the difference.
It is also important for you not to waste your time spending too much time in bed. Now I know there are exceptions to this, but I will keep this article clean. But at the end of the day it is a person’s choice what they do with their complete day.
Your Nutritional Needs.
When I was working from ten up to twenty hours a day on occasions, I still managed to do exercise, but I found that I was not eating regular meals and what I was eating was probably fast food. Now eating takeaway food is great, but not on a regular basis. Now eating those things that you like, that are probably not that very good for you is quite normal for most people, but you may want to consider cutting down on fast food and looking to eat a more balanced nutritious diet.
I love my food but even I now eat much healthier than when I was a serving police officer. So, what should I eat more of? Well the first thing to understand there is absolutely no rush to improve your diet. It is not completed overnight and you should not just cut everything out of your diet immediately, otherwise you will find yourself overwhelmed and decide just to go back to what you are used to.
Start introducing more fish, fibre, fruit and vegetables into your diet. You could possible cut down on salt, saturated fat and sugars. This is a complete subject and will require some investigation on your part.
Your Requirement For Fluids.
I love a pint of beer and I know lots of other police officers like their tipple, however please remember your activity levels may go down initially when you first retire, but sometimes your beer intake stays the same, just be careful. What you drink can have a big effect on your fitness, nutrition and health.
Personally I believe that a variation of drinks is great for your body, so add some vodka, gin and scotch, only joking. We should be aiming at around two litres or three pints of fluid per day. Most of that should come from water, juices and cordials.
If you do consume lots of tea, hot chocolate, coffee or alcohol, remember that these are diuretics and produce more urine. You will want to go to the lavatory more often and your water retention capabilities are compromised, which may not be the best thing for you as you move on into your retirement.
It is your choice how you live your life, so all I am suggesting is that you seriously think about how many hours you sleep, how you exercise, what you eat and drink. Do not be afraid to seek advice or guidance on the these subjects.
As you move on through your retirement as a ex-police officer or anyone else who happens to read this article, seriously consider improving your fitness, nutrition and health, so you live a full and productive life. Good luck.