It's no secret that the two things retired people worry about most is our wealth and health. As a retired guy, I can relate to that. I believe that wealth, or running out of money occupies the top spot on older retired people’s concerns and health comes in as a close second. Part of the reason is that advances in health care and changes in attitude have made it possible for us to live and stay active longer than ever. But everything, health care costs, including insurance premiums, are sky rocketing and insurance may not cover the costs of keeping us healthy. And our retirement income pretty much stays the same month in and month out.
The big issue with health is to stay fit and strong enough to enjoy being active and keep our immune systems running at peak efficiency. That requires a whole new strategy.
Fitness for us older folks
Staying fit, that’s the problem. Being retired means you can sleep and work as much as you want. And it gets easier to sit on the porch as we get older. At my last physical, my doctor told me it was never too late to get active and increase my strength and stamina. He’s probably right, but there are few easy ways to do it.
Consider this; It’s not how long you’ve been alive that make you old, it’s the lack of activity and a good positive attitude as you age. Research has shown time and again that sedentary lifestyles are harmful to our health and that active people with positive attitudes enjoy life and age better with fewer health problems.
Even though you know this is true, you might think it’s too late to get active or be convinced that you can’t do it, but that’s not true either. Here's the thing, all you have to do is start moving. You probably should talk to your doctor before you start any thing strenuous, but you can start moving, even if it's only a casual stroll, light walking or gardening. We’re talking about actually pushing yourself a little and increasing your heart rate.
Here are 5 Easy Ways to Get Active at Any Age
When it comes to health and fitness, it’s tough to beat the benefits of a swimming pool. Swimming is the best exercise when it comes to improving muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness. It’s easy on the joints, (which makes it an ideal choice for older people), helps increase flexibility, improves bone density and heart health. According to the CDC, swimming and other water-based workouts are safe and effective regardless of your age. I read one study that indicated that older adults who swam were 33 percent less likely to fall, a major cause of injury in older people 70. I’m not sure how they arrive at these statistics, but anything that increases strength and muscle tone has to help.
The CDC states that the benefits of this form of exercise include increased confidence, better sleep and stronger muscles and bones. If “weight lifting” causes images of young body builders pumping iron, think of it as "pumping aluminum". That might lighten the load a little. Articles on the CDC website suggest strength training can help relieve arthritis pain and lower an older persons chances of a fall. You can tailor a program to fit your age and physical condition. Strength training can be a safe and effective exercise but you must be careful and not over extend yourself when you start out. Check out some kettle bell exercises and use low weights to avoid sore muscles.
Plain old walking helps people keep moving and connect with nature, enjoy the benefits of being outdoors and interacting with other people. A well earned sense of independence is at the top the list of benefits for most hikers. A nature trail can provide an escape from every day stress and encourages a longer periods of activity than a walk around your local neighborhood will. Other health benefits include better heart health, circulation, mobility and a reduced risk of hospitalization.
Join a Sports Team
This one could be a little more difficult. But, if you don’t like exercising by yourself, the teamwork of organized sports might be just the ticket to better health. Adult sports leagues all across the country offer everything from basketball to softball. Whatever your sport of choice is, there’s a good chance you will find others playing in your area, so join up and reap the physical and mental benefits and make some new friends at the same time.
A lot of us like low impact exercises. If you are not into active sports, yoga may provide the exercise benefits you’re looking for. While I haven’t practiced yoga myself, I do know several people who practice Hatha yoga. Move through yoga poses is certainly worthwhile in getting increased your flexibility and controlled breathing helps with stress relief. All you need to do is get and use a video as a guide or join a local class. Yoga has been proven to help increase muscle strength, improve flexibility and circulation and lower stress levels. This is definitely something us retired folks can use more of.
Staying healthy and fit are key to enjoying your retirement. Many people retire and start living the good life but we end up staying up later, eating more and sitting on the couch more. Most of us stop getting enough exercise and it isn’t long before we are, over weight, out of shape and out of breath. And it is easier not to do anything about it.
Staying healthy after retirement is vital to enjoying retirement. So get started and start living again.