Stay Active Throughout Retirement With These Helpful Tips
Exercise is beneficial for everyone, no matter your age. Staying active is key to maintaining your health, independence, and well-being.
Exercise boosts moods, energy levels, metabolisms, confidence, and cognitive and physical abilities. And it can reduce your risk of chronic disease, increase your recovery time from an injury or illness, and help you better manage existing medical conditions.
Even if you’ve never been an active person, it’s never too late to start. Age is just a number, and it’s how you feel mentally and physically that matters. Once exercise becomes part of your routine, you’ll be amazed at how great you feel.
The bottom line is, physical fitness can improve your life so that you can enjoy independent living in retirement to the fullest.
Here are 10 tips to help you stay active in retirement.
#1: Find Activities You Enjoy
You are more likely to stick to activities and exercise routines that you find fun and manageable. These activities will feel more like a good way to spend your time and less like a chore.
You can also incorporate your favourite activities into your exercise routines.
- Listening to your favourite music or audiobooks while working out;
- Taking photographs on nature walks;
- Watching a movie or TV show while on the treadmill;
- Chatting with friends while you exercise;
- Getting into the friendly competitiveness of a sport, like tennis; and,
- Window shopping while walking in a mall or down the main street.
#2: Consult Your Doctor
Before you start a new exercise routine or activity, check in with your doctor to make sure the activity is appropriate for your health. If you have an existing medical condition, you suffer from obesity or chronic illness, or you have been sedentary for a long time, your doctor might advise you to avoid certain activities.
Also, always listen to your body when exercising. If you start to feel dizzy or lousy in any way, stop and consider exercising for less time but more often throughout the day.
#3: Start Small and Work Your Way Up
Follow your doctor’s advice on exercising, including how vigorous, how often, and how long you should exercise each week. To help build up your muscles and stamina, start slow and set small goals, such as starting with 10-minute exercises twice a day, or trying just one exercise class per week.
And don’t forget to warm up, cool down, and stay hydrated during your exercise routines to prevent injury and discomfort.
#4: Find Friends to Exercise With
Exercise can be much more fun if you have friends to pass the time with. So invite a friend or two to join you with your activities. Or, you can join a local senior exercises class and make new friends. This will help you reap the many mental health benefits of socialization in senior living, instead of suffering from the adverse health effects of isolation and loneliness.
#5: Don’t Forget About Flexibility
Flexibility allows you to move without hindrance. Even the simplest movements can become difficult if you’re not flexible. So along with a workout routine, it’s important to work on your flexibility. Do stretching exercises before and after activities.
Dancing and lawn bowling are two fun activities that improve flexibility. And yoga is an enjoyable, relaxing activity that focuses on flexibility, balance, strength, and posture while reducing stress and practicing mindfulness.
#6: Strength Training Basics
Being strong is very rewarding. You will face less physical barriers as your strength increases. From opening a jar of pickles to carrying groceries to your home, having the strength to do daily activities means you can enjoy independent living to the fullest.
Strength training exercises that build muscle include lifting weights and calisthenics. And building muscle mass also helps to burn more calories. So you can maintain a healthier weight by building muscle and speeding up your metabolism with exercise.
#7: Build Bone Strength
Weight-lifting or body-weight exercises, like calisthenics, also help to strengthen your bones. So you can prevent bone loss and osteoporosis that become common as we get older.
Strengthening your bones and preventing the loss of bone mass will reduce your risk of injury, most notably fracturing your bones from a fall.
#8: Regular Cardio Benefits
Moderate-intensity exercises that make you breathe hard, but not so hard that you can’t catch your breath, will help improve your cardiovascular health—in other words, your lung and heart fitness. By getting your heart pumping, your blood flowing, and your lungs working harder, you can build physical endurance and lung capacity, which will help make exercise more comfortable and improve your health.
#9: Find Your Balance
Balance is an important ability to have to help reduce the risk of falls and injuries. So include balance and coordination exercises in your weekly routine. These exercises could be yoga, tai chi, heel to toe stands, or balancing on one leg.
#10: Make it a Habit
If you insert exercise and activities into your daily routine—e.g., working out for 30 minutes at 2 pm, spend time each day gardening, walking the dog, or walking around the neighbourhood after dinner every day—exercise will eventually become a habit and almost second nature.
And once it becomes a habit, it will be easier to follow these routines, and you’ll be less likely to lose motivation to keep exercising. Also, consider committing to an exercise schedule for four weeks to force yourself to build a habit out of exercising.
While you may think that retirement is the time to slow down, especially if you have aches and pains, you can actually do yourself a whole lot of good by staying active.
With regular exercise, you can:
- Maintain or lose weight;
- Improve balance, coordination, posture, and flexibility;
- Improve digestion and immune system function;
- Improve blood pressure and bone density;
- Reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, certain cancers, and osteoporosis;
- Sleep better;
- Reduce stress, depression, and anxiety;
- Boost your mood and self-confidence; and,
- Keep your memory sharp.
Even if you start small, remember that it’s worth it to keep moving. By getting out and being physically active, you can enhance your quality of life throughout retirement, feeling great both physically and mentally.