3 top tips to keep your body moving in retirement
As you head into retirement, moving your body on a regular basis is so important. As you age, you will naturally lose muscle and bone mass, which can lead to problems such as back pain, osteoporosis, or osteoarthritis.
Engaging in regular exercise can slow down the ageing process, help strengthen your bones, and reduce joint and muscle pain. Staying active in retirement can also lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease or heart attack, control diabetes, improve your strength and of course, help you to maintain a healthy weight.
Your flexibility and mobility may also improve, and as an added bonus, when you exercise your body releases endorphins which help promote feelings of happiness and positivity.
Staying active will of course be easier if you’ve always played golf, walked every day, or enjoyed a few games of lawn bowls each week. It’s a little more difficult if you’ve led a more sedentary life – but the good news is, you can start slow and work up as your fitness level increases.
It’s never too late to begin! The secret is to find something you enjoy doing and then do it regularly. You’ll soon notice the benefits.
The following simple suggestions are easy to do, require little or no equipment, and will hopefully inspire you to get up and get going! Just remember to have a word to your GP before you change your exercise routine or undertake any new physical activity.
1) Walking – one of the easiest ways to move
Taking off for a brisk walk is one of the best forms of exercise for people in retirement. Most retirement estates feature pleasant walking paths, or are close to nature paths so you can enjoy getting some fresh air.
Here are some tips to help you get walking:
- Join (or start!) a walking group for safety and social interaction
- If you’re not going far, consider walking instead of driving
- If you don’t have a dog to walk, why not find a neighbour who can’t walk theirs?
- Always keep a pair of walking shoes (and socks) in the car
- Take a friend and explore different walking tracks in your area
- Trade the golf buggy for your legs
- Use the stairs instead of escalators and lifts where possible… and safe
- Park further away from your destination so you can fit in some extra steps
- If you use public transport, try hopping off a stop or two before home and walking the rest of the way
- Invest in a pedometer (or smart watch or phone app) to count your steps and monitor your progress
- Find a ‘walking buddy’ so you both stay committed
- When friends or family come to visit, take them with you for a walk, even if it’s just around the village
- Start slow if you need to – a short stroll is better than no stroll at all!
Remember: it’s wise to tell someone when you’re heading off for a walk, and when you expect to return. Keep your mobile phone on you and try to always take a walking companion with you.\
2) Stretch your body, relax your mind
Stretching exercises such as yoga and Pilates are designed to stretch your muscles and give you a greater range of flexibility and movement. They’re also quite relaxing, so you’ll find you can give your brain a little rest at the same time.
Try these ideas to get you stretching:
- Ask your physiotherapist or gym instructor for stretches you can do at home.
- Find time throughout the day to stretch, such as when you wake up, before bed, and moments that suit you in between.
- See if there’s a local class in yoga, tai chi or Pilates. Often retirement communities offer some of these, as well as stretching classes for seniors.
- If your daily routine involves sitting in the one position for extended periods, take a break and do some stretches. Commercial breaks are perfect when watching TV. If you're sitting at a desk or table, set a timer for every 50 minutes so you can stand up and stretch your body.
- Apply the same rule when you’re out. Don’t get stuck sitting for extended periods. Excuse yourself and go look after your body with a few simple stretches.
Remember: always warm up your muscles with gentle stretches before going deeper. The same applies at the end of your session when you cool down from your stretching activity.
3) Swimming or water aerobics – gentle yet effective
Even if you can’t swim, you can still get some great benefits from moving your body in water. You might just want to make sure you have a friend (or lifeguard) close by. On the other hand if you are a swimmer, then doing laps on a regular basis will do wonders for your health.
Water provides resistance which helps strengthen your muscles. Water also supports some of your weight so it’s much kinder on your joints, especially if you’re a little out of shape.
Try these ways to get wet while you get fit:
- Find a water aerobics class. They are such fun you won’t even know you’re exercising! Water aerobics increases your circulation and may even help with joint or muscle pain. There may be classes in your retirement community.
- If you haven’t swum for a while, borrow a kickboard and do some laps just kicking to warm up.
- When you’re swimming, start small and count your laps; increasing as you gain fitness. Your aim is to work up to swimming for 20 to 30 minutes at least three times a week.
- Walking in waist-high water can improve your balance, increase your flexibility and strengthen your cardiovascular fitness. As a bonus, you’ll be burning off those calories and reducing fat.
- You might like to try hydrotherapy, which uses water for therapy. It’s a gentle form of supported movement that is ideal for rehabilitation, exercise and relaxation.
Look after your physical and emotional wellbeing at Kensington Gardens
At Kensington Gardens Lifestyle Estates we want you to continue to enjoy an independent life for as long as possible. Every time you move your body, you are improving your health and wellbeing.
Our Country Club facilities at Shepparton and Albury offer a host of great activities and options to keep your body moving and your mind active.
We’ve also created a little guide: ‘Ways to Improve Your Health and Longevity in Retirement’ that you can download right now, for free! You’ll find more tips and ideas on how you can lead a fulfilling, healthy and happy life in your retirement.
If you’d like to see Kensington Gardens for yourself, arrange your personal tour by calling us today or get in touch online to book a time to come in and visit us.