Editor’s Note: Happy Valentine’s Day from Wealthy Retirement!

February 14 is a fun occasion (and reminder) to dedicate time to people in our lives who we appreciate.

But often, we forget that this list should include ourselves…

Today, Research Director Kristin Orman will share ways that you can take care of yourself this Valentine’s Day by treating yourself to a healthier and happier retirement.

Read on to discover gifts – beyond flowers and chocolates – that will make this season of appreciation and affection even more meaningful, especially if you’re “flying solo” this year.

(Though if you’re like me, you’ll also treat yourself to chocolate…)

– Mable Buchanan, Assistant Managing Editor

Getting older can be stressful.

We lose physical strength and mental acuity with each passing year, which can make everyday tasks like completing a crossword puzzle or walking up and down the stairs a frustrating nightmare.

But aging does have its perks. Especially when it comes to discounts and freebies.

Now, I’m not talking about “early bird specials” or a free cup of coffee.

I’m talking about valuable discounts and incentives specifically designed to help seniors keep their minds sharp and their bodies healthy.

These opportunities are worth thousands of dollars. In fact, they could help you avoid a costly joint replacement down the road or transform your dream of a retirement business into a reality.

Have you been missing out?

Getting Back to the Books

If you haven’t browsed the course catalogs at the colleges and universities in your area, you may have missed an opportunity.

That’s because many universities and community colleges offer discounted or free tuition to seniors.

It’s a huge advantage because rising college costs stop most seniors from pursuing additional education.

Classes cost hundreds of dollars, and tuition can add up to $10,000 or more each year.

These programs are a perfect fit for those looking to master a technical skill set or even start a retirement business. They’re also an optimal choice for working folks who want to gain the new knowledge and connections required to remain competitive in their industries.

And it isn’t just boring accounting classes either.

At the University of California, Berkeley, senior citizens have the opportunity to take classes on memoir writing, documentary filmmaking, Chinese history and Cuban politics. Georgetown University offers a class for seniors interested in entrepreneurship called New Venture Creation.

Nearly 60% of accredited colleges and universities across the country offer tuition waivers for elderly students.

Enrolling with a waiver may require you to forgo course credit or register as an auditor. But if your goal is to gain a specific skill set, pick up a new hobby or deepen your knowledge of a particular subject, that doesn’t matter.

Contact your local colleges and universities for specific age restrictions and residency requirements. Their staff should also help you navigate the application process and select courses.

A Sound Mind Relies on a Strong Body

Keeping your mind sharp and strong is important, but it’s just one of the lifestyle choices you face in retirement.

In order to stay healthy, fit and vibrant, physical activity is also key. Committing to fitness means making exercise a priority and working it into your daily routine.

But for many folks, membership to a fancy gym or health club is out of the question. This is especially true for retirees, who may be trying to pinch pennies.

The good news is a number of Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans across the company include benefits that can help. And if you’ve never heard of SilverSneakers, you need to check it out.

It’s a free fitness program for Medicare-eligible senior citizens. The program works with more than 13,000 gyms and fitness studios across the United States to offer yoga, aerobics, swimming, Zumba, weight training, Pilates and more.

The best part is that program participants generally enjoy SilverSneakers classes at no cost.

And the savings add up quickly. The average gym membership costs $60 a month. So SilverSneakers members save approximately $700 a year on dues.

Plus, they also get to take advantage of registered SilverSneakers-certified trainers, nutrition coaches, health education seminars and online fitness trackers.

But the benefits aren’t limited to your pocketbook…

Physical activity is the single biggest predictor of longevity. People who exercise live longer. So if you want to tack on a few additional years, you need to get your body moving.

To find out if you are eligible, visit the SilverSneakers website. If your health insurance is a SilverSneakers participant, you’ll be able to find participating locations in your area.

A Healthy and Wealthy Retirement

While aging is inevitable, you can take control of your physical health and mental well-being with perks like free or discounted education programs and gym memberships.

After all, what’s the point of having money in your golden years if you don’t have the physical or mental capacity to enjoy it?

Taking a course on a new subject or trying an unfamiliar workout offers a rewarding mental and physical challenge. These types of activities also offer seniors a chance to socialize and discover new passions.

But like many things in life, these benefits won’t be handed to you. You have to ask for them.

These programs could save you thousands of dollars each year and help you enjoy a longer, more fulfilling retirement. If you’re interested, see if you qualify today.