The Importance of Staying Active and Busy When You Retire
Keeping active throughout your life is essential for maintaining good health. This is true for people of all age groups, but especially for seniors. And, according to the CDC, after age 75, 1 in every 3 men and 1 in every 2 women no longer do any physical activity. So what does this mean exactly?
It means that people must do more than just the daily walk to the mailbox. It means real physical exercise that gets your body moving and your heart rate pumping.
For those considering senior assisted living for health-related reasons, there are plenty of opportunities for exercise and staying active that are easily accessible to everyone.
Some who don’t like to exercise might ask, “after everything I’ve dealt with throughout life, working a job, raising kids, and running a household, don’t I deserve to just do nothing in my retirement and relax in my lazy chair all day?”
While that is something that you can do, experts recommend that seniors maintain an active lifestyle and exercise regularly. In addition, while it’s true that seniors need more time to recover and heal from injuries, there are other health benefits that aren’t obvious. These benefits include improving mental health, reducing the likelihood of receiving injuries, improving blood pressure, and assisting with osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, diabetes, and more.
Here are 5 benefits of exercise that highlight the importance of staying active and busy after retirement.
1. Overall Health Improves With Exercise
The best part is that physical activity doesn’t need to be strenuous to achieve results. Walking is one of the most simple and effective exercises for seniors. The benefits of walking, especially every day, are immense. Any kind of walking works, whether it’s fast walking or longer but slower walking sessions. Even stair walking has health benefits. However, you should talk to your health care provider before starting any new exercise routine. You can begin your new routine as soon as you have their approval. To achieve the best results, try to vary your walking in intensity, frequency, and duration.
2. Improve Flexibility and Mobility
Exercising regularly can help seniors improve their balance, mobility, and flexibility. According to Helpguide, when these abilities are restored, coordination will improve, and the chance of falls happening will go down. So if a senior stays in a regular exercise routine, they will be able to maintain their mobility and independence for even longer.
3. Manage Both Strength and Weight at the Same Time
With regular exercise, you can keep on losing weight despite your metabolism starting to slow down due to aging. This is because exercise burns calories and also helps you to build up muscle mass. Your joints and bones benefit as well. Joint swelling and arthritis pain are also kept under control. As for the bones, they will build up more cells and increase in density. Better joint and bone health will reduce the risk of falling. And the most impactful benefit is that you’ll be able to perform routine tasks more easily in day-to-day life.
4. Health and Cardiovascular Benefits
According to the World Health Organization, hypertension is one of the leading causes of premature death around the world, and by 2025, approximately 1.56 billion people will have this condition. If your blood pressure is more than 130/80, you aren’t alone. Keep in mind, however, that this problem can be both prevented and treated. Prevention doesn’t cost a thing as it involves doing routine exercise and moving your body consistently.
Exercise is medically proven to reduce high blood pressure. 30 minutes of moderate cardio is the recommended baseline for most individuals. Do this 5 times per week to lower blood pressure, decrease stress, and limit your risk of developing cardiovascular issues, diabetes, and even colon cancer.
5. Staying Active Improves Mental Health
Exercise has been shown to improve cognitive functioning and stave off depression. In addition, exercise specifically activates the muscles that will improve your mood, thus reducing stress. Recent research has also suggested that maintaining a regular exercise routine might even delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and decrease the risk of developing vascular dementia. And finally, a regular exercise routine will help seniors improve their focus throughout the day and allow them to live a better life thanks to newfound energy and improved motor skills.
Also, if the exercise routine involves socializing, then that’s another mental health benefit right there. It can be especially helpful for seniors who are more introverted or withdrawn because they will have more of a social life without making too much extra effort. In fact, in senior assisted living, exercise is often a part of group outings. There should also be fitness classes available and possibly senior walking groups as well. These programs allow seniors to maintain their youthful energy levels and mental acuity too.
Starting an Exercise Program
It’s a common perception that getting older means not being able to exercise or that exercise becomes less meaningful. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Staying active in retirement will improve your quality of life, health, and independence. And it’s never too late to start!
Some Tips Before Starting
- Talk to your doctor first. While most kinds of exercises are rarely harmful, some might be better for you than others. This is even more important if you suffer from a chronic condition like arthritis, back problems, knee problems, etc.
- Start out slow. This advice is for people of all ages, not just seniors. Starting out with something new and going too fast can lead to painful injuries that can last for a few days (or longer if you’re really unlucky). So just start out slow, do it for a bit of time only, and just work your way up to your ideal duration and intensity.
- Discover the kinds of activities you like doing. There are many excellent activities that you can fit into your life. Walking is obviously a great start. You don’t need to buy anything extra, and you can do it almost anywhere. Additionally, walking with your loved ones and buddies can give you guys some spare time to catch up on things.