A guest post by F. Nielson
If you think keeping in shape is only for the young you should think again. It is not uncommon for people to live for 20 or more years after retirement, so why not spend that time keeping active and maintaining good health. No longer are retirees expected to sit on their porches and whittle away the afternoons. Retirement has become for many an opportunity to try new things and take on adventures they were unable to pursue during their working years. One way to start is to stay active through regular exercise.
Almost everyone can benefit from staying physically active. We might think of staying active as an application of Newton’s first law of motion—a body at rest tends to stay at rest, while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. The more one stays active, particularly with exercise that works the entire body, then the more activities that person can participate in and enjoy. Even those that have trouble standing or walking can still benefit from a moderate amount of exercise, such as water aerobics classes or slow swimming.
Adding even minimal amounts of exercise to your daily or weekly routine can improve your quality of life. Physical exercise benefits us in many ways including:
- Maintaining our strength and fitness levels
- Improving our balance
- Preventing and managing diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart disease and more
- Improving our sense of well-being and reducing feelings of depression, and
- Improving or maintaining our cognitive abilities
Older adults that stay active tend to experience fewer hospitalizations, lower their medication use, and live independently longer.
How to Begin
Prior to beginning any exercise routine, it is advisable to consult a doctor to discuss any potential health issues. Make sure to start with low intensity exercises and work your way up to higher levels over time. If you already do an activity like golf, where you’re outside and moving around, a more active exercise routine will most likely work other muscles in the body. So start gradually.
Keep a log of your activities and progress. Set reasonable goals, make them specific, and celebrate when you reach them. Make sure to have the right equipment to do the exercise, such as a good pair of shoes. If your workouts are at a gym, make sure you are familiar with the proper use of the equipment. If you are in doubt, ask for help. Remember, using proper form on the exercises will give you the greatest benefit and prevent injury. If at any time you experience pain or dizziness, stop.
Strive to take part in some form of exercise every day. To make sure you stay motivated, get involved in a fitness activity that you are interested in and can regularly pursue. By incorporating a variety of fitness activities into your weekly routine, you will ensure you work a wide variety of muscles and increase your endurance, strength, balance and flexibility.
Fitness activities come in all forms. They include walking, swimming, yoga, lifting weights, water exercises, biking, stretching, dancing, team sports, among others. The key is to find what interests you and keep track of your progress. Even after a short time you will notice a marked improvement in the way you look and feel.
Retirement isn’t the time to lose your zest for life. Just the opposite is true. It is a time to pursue those activities and adventures you always wanted to but never found the time for. By making exercise a part of your daily life, you can look and feel better while enjoying your retirement years.
F. Nielson is a retired medical researcher. Through writing, he helps consumers find the best medical supplies at an affordable price.