When we think about athletes, we tend to picture a particular type of person. We see young, perfectly fit people in their twenties and thirties, don’t we? We picture Olympians! If you can learn one thing at all, I hope you learn this: running can be for anyone. You can be any size, shape, or age and be fit.
As we get older, it definitely gets harder to stay in shape. After retirement, it may be difficult but it is also much more important. Our joints stiffen without exercise and unused muscles will weaken. As we advance in age, our mobility is on the line. One of our best lines of defense is staying active.
Does that mean you have to be an endurance runner at 65? Of course not! What it does mean is that it’s valuable, even vital, to find a regular exercise routine that you enjoy.
I'm not retired yet, but I'm planning for the future. I want to be up and active for as long as I can! Here are my top tips for older individuals who want to stay active and healthy well into their golden years.
5 Practical Tips for Staying Active in Retirement
1) Get Your Numbers
Before you get started with any regular exercise routine, make sure you go to your physician and get your numbers. You want to know things like blood pressure, cholesterol, and how much your heart can handle. Ask your physician what kinds of exercises are appropriate for you and what kinds you should avoid. Starting off with this information with help you avoid injury, health problems, and undue strain on your body.
It can also help you set nutrition and lifestyle goals to meet along with your fitness goals. Cholesterol a little high? Cut out some red meats and fatty foods alongside your new exercise routine to ensure better heart health. That way, you can amplify the effectiveness of your exercise efforts.
2) Household Activities
In retirement, there are plenty of opportunities to get active all around you. You don’t need an expensive gym membership to get in a solid 30-minutes of activity every day. All you really need is time. Here are a few household activities that can give you a seriously good workout:
Gardening: pulling weeds, digging dirt, lifting bags of mulch, and carrying water hoses takes more strength than we realize.
Household Chores: whether it’s vacuuming, doing laundry, or cleaning those hard-to-reach places in the house, you’d be surprised how aerobic chores can get.
3) Take on the Grandkids
Want to get fit? Take on the next generation. If anyone knows energy and activity, it’s the grandkids. Spend some time in the park together, play catch, or go swimming. Push the little ones on the swings for a while. Simply humoring your grandchildren who want to play by actually playing with them can get you a lot more exercise than you bargained for.
4) Find Your Groove
In retirement, not having time to workout isn’t really an excuse. What’s more valuable is finding a workout that you can actually stick to. If you just enjoy walking or running, hey, great! Maybe you prefer strength training or being in a gym. You can also dance, join sports teams, or take up something like yoga or Tai Chi. If you don’t know what you’re going to really enjoy, look for it. It’s out there.
If you find you don’t really enjoy exercising at all, remember this: it’s not really about enjoying it. It’s about enjoying your retirement and golden years and being able to better enjoy your time with family and friends.
5) Take Your Time
Lastly, take your time. As someone who isn’t yet retired, I can’t always afford a leisurely pace in my life. Retirees can take their time getting places. If you can walk instead of drive, walk. If you can bike, bike. Take every opportunity to be active even if it will take you a little longer or be a little more inconvenient.
What's your plan for staying active after you retire? Let me know what you're doing to stay fit in the comments.