Being Active After Retirement

Suddenly finding yourself with free time that you previously filled with work can be discouraging, especially if you led a busy lifestyle and barely had a moment’s rest. While retirement can be a welcome and well deserved break, it can also lead to health risks associated with a sudden routine change.

Hobbies are a good distraction and a good use for your now open schedule, but you should consider physical activity as another essential part of your retirement plans. Not only to reduce health risks, but to maintain your body in good condition so you can enjoy your free time and do what you want without feeling out of shape or tiring easily.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

The first thing you need to do is get a medical check-up if you haven’t yet, and ask for advice regarding your health and well-being. Most likely you’ll hear that moderate exercise and walking will be vital to your overall health. If you happen to have mobility issues, now’s the time to check in with a physical and occupational therapy specialist.

Specialists recommend that people aged between 50 and 64 years old should do some sort of physical activity for 10-30 minutes a day, five days a week. This can be anything from brisk walking, swimming, or bike riding to support your cardiovascular health; dumbbells or resistance bands exercises to improve your strength, maintain muscle mass, and bone density; and flexibility exercises such as stretching and yoga so you can maintain and even improve your range of motion.

It’s also advised that you should reduce the amount of time you spend sitting or lying down, especially if your job had you sitting at a desk for most of the day. Now is the time to find and create new habits so you can be active all day long.

WHAT TO DO, WHAT TO DO…

There’s a lot you can do that adds up in the long run and it doesn’t necessarily have to be running or lifting weights. The important thing is to have fun while getting some activity in. Here are our tips:

- Leave the car behind and walk or even bike to the store, post office, or when visiting a neighbor.

- Tend to your yard, look into gardening, or grow your own vegetables in a small patch of land or pots if you only have a balcony available.

- Look into volunteer work around your neighborhood that will have you moving around for sure, with the added benefit of helping those in need.

- Walk your pets often now that you have more time to spend with them. Taking your dog for a walk twice a day will have you moving more and a happy pet glad to play and be outdoors more often.

- Get out there and do things you never had the time to do. Join a local trail or hiking group, visit museums and art exhibitions, travel to see friends you haven’t seen in years.

THERE ARE ALWAYS ALTERNATIVES

If you’re serious about being more active and feel there’s more you can do, joining a gym is a completely valid option as well. While some people might feel out of place in a gym setting full of younger people, there’s always room for everyone, you just have to look for the right places.

Alternatively, you can have your own gym at home and gear up with affordable and easy to use exercise equipment, suitable for all ages and abilities. Get a set of massage balls to help with muscle tension and joint pain, or a set of resistance bands to work on your strength and flexibility.

If working out is not something you see yourself doing, then going for a walk everyday is a good option as well. Get yourself a step counter to help keep track of how many steps you’ve taken, set new goals everyday, and feel motivated to walk more.

Retirement isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning of a new stage of your life. Now that you have more time and resources than you ever did before, take the time to care for yourself so you can enjoy life to the fullest while feeling in the best condition.

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