The golden years are called that for a reason. Retirement can be a great time of your life, but it’s important to keep up an active lifestyle to make the most of your later years. Here are some tips to help seniors stay active.
Get Your Exercise
Exercise is important for all people, but it is especially important for seniors. The fact is that, later in life, the muscular strength decreases and joint problems increase. For those that want to keep up an active lifestyle, getting the proper amount of exercise each day is vital, as it will make the little things (like walking up and down stairs or just getting in or out of a chair) a whole lot easier.
There are lots of options for improving your exercise routine later in life. You can join an exercise group (there are lots that are organized just for seniors), or you can work with a personal trainer to develop good exercise habits. Whatever you decide, keep in mind that stretching and warming up is more important than ever late in life, and if you experience pain, you should stop whatever exercise you are doing.
Stay Active around the House
When most people think of having an active lifestyle, they think about getting exercise and joining up with all of the local social groups. Those pursuits can certainly help—as noted in this article—but you can also contribute to an active lifestyle by taking care of business around the house. Take a look at the yard work, gardening, and home repairs that need to get done to help motivate yourself to stay active on a daily basis.
The goal here is essentially to take the “sedentary” part out of “sedentary activities.” You can like being at home and doing all of your favorite stuff around the house while still living an active lifestyle. When you are watching TV, for example, you can include some small exercises to keep your blood pumping. Instead of just sitting around the house, make sure you stay on the move as much as possible.
Mix and Mingle
Mental health is just as important as physical health, and feelings of loneliness can take a toll if you don’t work on staying connected with your friends, family, and community. After retirement, social life naturally undergoes significant changes, and you will need to be proactive in seeing people each day to keep yourself in good mental health.
First, organize social gatherings or join up with groups that meet on a regular basis. This sounds cliché, but getting together with other people (whether seniors or not) can help keep your mind active and can help you fight off feelings of isolation post-retirement. You can even combine this with some physical activity by joining a dance class or group. Whatever the group, you should choose activities that meet your interests and your routine so that you will feel motivated to actually get out and attend the meetings.
And, if you are still feeling lonely around the house, get a dog. Studies have shown that owning a dog late in life can have hugely beneficial effects on your mental health, as dogs can be great companions at home.
Walk a Lot
This is true for everyone, but it is especially true for seniors: Walking a lot is an important part of having an active lifestyle. As you reach your golden years, walking a lot is important for both physical and mental health. For the latter, getting out and breathing some fresh air will always lift your spirits. For the former, walking is one of the best physical activities for seniors, as it is a low-impact activity that requires relatively little work every day. And, you can get your friends or relatives to join up to make it a more social activity.
Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.