A Reason to Get Out of Bed

Sometimes nothing feels better than lying safely tucked in bed under those snuggly warm covers. Peacefully content in the moment you savor a nirvana like freedom from all responsibility. Let the world run its course – you are having no part of it. And if you are one of those lucky retired folk you have the option to enjoy your down time for as long as you want. No job draws you away, no children require dressing, no time sensitive projects burden the calendar. In many ways it is a wonderful thing.

After five years adjusting to and learning to appreciate my retirement I savor my option to rise and shine or remain in place. The best thing about it is I am the decider. I need not get to it until I am good and ready. I do find it interesting that while “on the job” I typically struggled to get started in the morning. Perhaps it was what lay ahead that sucked the motivation right out of my bones. These days I find I am ready to go earlier and easier than ever. Even with nothing on the agenda I cannot resist the sunshine calling me to welcome the new day. Sleeping in these days means seven am. With so much out there I just want to get to it!

Not all retirements are the same. Retirees can find it challenging to get a move on when the new day rings in. With nothing that must be done they lack motivation to do anything. The responsibilities and recognition that came with the job are no more. In its place remains a void, an emptiness some find hard to fill. If your work identity defines who you are, what happens when you no longer have a job?

Now throw into the mix the effects of aging on body and psyche. A tiring yesterday can put a drag on today. Back and knees, neck and elbows – not all of our parts are necessarily excited about participating in a new dawn. Sometimes it takes extra effort to roll out of the sack. Sometimes it feels like just too much.

Why leave the safety and comfort of bed?

We have been watching an entertaining series called Alone where a group of ten people are dropped in the wilderness of Vancouver Island to survive on their own. As things become overwhelming participants tap out and are picked up by boat. The last one standing wins a cool half million dollars. For most of the numerous physical challenges such as bears, cougars, hunger, and cold, the survivors seem pretty well prepared. What ends up causing the most distress and eventually drives individuals to call it quits is the loneliness, the lack of companionship and specifically missing family.

As one season comes to an end the daughter of the winner suddenly appears on camera and sneaks up to surprise her dad. The intense hug that follows as the two silently embrace is a real tear jerker. If the participants learned nothing else each returned home with a new respect and appreciation for their spouse and family. I like to think they will carry these memories forever to help sustain the love they so missed while in the bush.

Getting out of bed is not always just about you. Think about all those who are impacted by what you say and do. Perhaps an aging parent waits in hopeful anticipation for your evening call. A daughter may benefit from your insights in regards to her current life situation. What of that solemn neighbor who lights up when he sees your smiling face. And what spouse wants to regularly find you still in bed after she/he has gotten under way.

I am a list person. As I tell my wife, if something gets on the list it gets done. Creating a list the night before might provide a little incentive to get up and start the next day. The contents do not have to be complex – just putting it in writing can help trigger action.

Sometimes all it takes is a little thing to inspire your start. If I am in the middle of a good book I am often ready to follow where the plot will take me. Changes in the season often require your attention in the garden or about the house. A jigsaw puzzle may call to you as its secret unfolds under your skilled hands.

Even if no specific chore or activity or inspiration requires your attention, starting with a positive outlook can kick you into gear. If you hope for good things to happen you are more inclined to launch the day. If your curiosity stirs to discover what may be around the bend you look forward to a new day. If you believe future moments might hold some special significance you may find yourself more anxious to get started.

I like to think each new day has new potential. How exactly that will look I cannot guess. But I know the best way to find out is to get outta bed and see for myself.


Four Best Yoga Poses for Seniors

Written by James Fleming

As they age, many seniors have a tendency to take on a more sedentary lifestyle.

Sometimes, this happens because of an illness or injury. But, other times, seniors simply don’t realize how much time they’re spending sitting or lying down once they retire and have fewer responsibilities to tend to.

Whatever their reason, it’s important for seniors to stay active in order to stay healthy and maintain their quality of life.

In addition to resistance training and cardiovascular exercizes like walking or swimming, older adults can benefit from yoga classes, which will help them improve their flexibility and balance and decrease their risk of injury.

There are many yoga classes available at gyms and senior centers that are geared toward older participants. But, if they’re not able to make it to these classes, seniors can also get just as much out of practicing yoga from the comfort of their own homes.

Listed below are four of the best yoga poses for seniors. These poses are all simple and easy to master without a lot of one-on-one instruction.

  1. Warrior II

Warrior II is a great pose for older adults, especially those who are beginners or who struggle with chronic hip or back pain.

To do this pose, start by standing up straight at the top of your yoga mat. Take a big step back with your left foot, so your feet are about three feet apart and your hips are in line with the side of your mat. Rotate your right foot so that it’s facing forward, then turn your left foot so that it’s parallel with the edge of your mat.

When you feel stable in this position, bend your right knee so you’re in a lunge (don’t let your knee extend past your toes) and extend your arms to the sides to form a “T” shape. Turn your head so you’re gazing over your right fingertips.

Hold for 3-5 breaths, then switch sides.

  1. Tree Pose

Tree pose is a great pose for seniors who need to work on their balance and want to prevent falls.

To do tree pose correctly, start by standing up straight at the top of your yoga mat with your feet together. Slowly shift your weight to your left foot and lift your right foot off the ground. Bend your right knee and bring your foot to the inside of the left leg, letting it rest on your inner ankle, calf, or your inner thigh (don’t put it directly on the side of your knee).

Raise your arms overhead with your palms facing inward. Hold for 3-5 breaths, then switch sides.

It’s easy to modify this pose by holding onto a chair or the wall if you need extra support.

  1. Bridge

Bridge pose is a good option for seniors who want to strengthen their hips and lower back to minimize pain and improve mobility.

To do this pose, start by lying on your back with your feet on the floor, about hip-distance apart. The knees should be bent and the feet should be in line with them, while your arms are flat on the floor at your sides.

Inhale and press your hands down into the floor, then, as you exhale, press down with your feet and lift your hips off the ground. Try to make your body form a straight line from knees to head — don’t let your back arch too much. Hold for 3-5 breaths, then lower yourself back down.

  1. Legs Up the Wall

This is a great restorative post and is perfect for relaxing at the end of a long day. It can also help improve circulation.

Start by sitting with one side of your body against the wall. Then, lower down to the floor and swing your legs up so they’re flat against the wall and perpendicular to the floor.

If you lack the flexibility to get your legs flat on the wall, shift your body back and bend your knees slightly.

Keep your arms to your sides and hold the pose, breathing deeply for 5-10 breaths. Then, slowly swing your legs to the side to bring them away from the wall.

Nine Ways Seniors Can Stay Healthy on a Budget

Written by Joe Fleming

For senior citizens living on a fixed income it’s easy to feel you don’t have the funds necessary to live a healthy lifestyle. Who has time to think healthy when you may be struggling just to make ends meet? Sadly this time in life is when you can really benefit from focusing on a healthy diet and lifestyle. The good news is it’s totally possible to prioritize health without putting a massive dent in your bank account.

Read on for ten simple tips seniors can apply today to stay healthy on a budget.

  1. Look for Senior Discounts

If you hate paying full price for things, remember that there are numerous perks for seniors to take advantage of.

Many grocery stores offer a senior discount or loyalty program, as do lots of gyms and rec centers. Some businesses will also let you take advantage of a veterans discount, too, which can result in even more savings!

  1. Clip Coupons

Speaking of coupons, be sure to scour your weekly paper for the latest grocery store ads. Pay attention to which items are on sale and plan your shopping trips around them.

In addition to looking for printed coupons, you should also look online for other offers. Many stores post additional deals on their websites, and there are lots of third-party companies that also share coupons online.

  1. Shop Store Brands

Remember that store brands are almost always cheaper than name brand items, even though they contain the same ingredients and taste identical. Shop store brands whenever possible, unless you have a coupon that will make a name brand item cheaper

  1. Create (and Stick to) a Meal Plan

One of the best things you can do to save money on healthy food is to create a meal plan for the week and stick to it. Decide which meals you’re going to cook and plan ahead for any trips you might be taking to restaurants.

Once you have a meal plan in mind, you can prepare your food ahead of time. That way, all you have to do when you’re hungry is heat it up.

If the idea of preparing food for the whole week seems daunting, consider preparing enough for just 2-3 days instead — or, ask a family member or friend to help you.

You don’t have to get fancy with your meal plan, either — often, the healthiest and tastiest meals are also the simplest ones.

  1. Keep Healthy Convenience Foods on Hand

Make it easy for yourself to choose healthy foods by making sure they’re the only ones available.

Instead of stocking your pantry with chips and cookies, buy fresh fruit and vegetables that are washed and ready-to-eat. Other easy and healthy snacks to keep on hand include:

  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Sliced deli turkey or ham
  • Beef jerky sticks
  • Dried fruit (just make sure there’s no sugar added)
  1. Eat Whole Foods as Much as Possible

It’s easy to let marketing get the better of you at the grocery store.

There are tons of items with eye-catching labels that claim to be healthy — think low-fat cookies, low-calorie ice cream, pre-packaged protein bars, etc.

These items might seem healthy, but they’re usually filled with sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. And, they’re much more expensive than whole, natural foods like fruit, vegetables, and meat.

  1. Exercise at Home

If you can’t find a senior discount for a gym near you, don’t take that a sign from the universe that you shouldn’t be exercising. There are plenty of ways to workout for free from the comfort of your own home.

Start by simply going for a walk every day. Even spending just 15-20 minutes outside each day is a great way to improve your health, especially if you’re not used to working out at all.

  1. Take Advantage of Community Events

Check the schedule for your local senior center to see if they offer free social events. From fitness classes to cooking demonstrations, these events are a great way to socialize and learn healthy habits without spending money.

  1. Get Plenty of Sleep

When it comes to trying to stay healthy on a budget, there’s nothing more affordable than making sure you’re getting plenty of sleep. Sleep is essential for keeping your immune system functioning properly, maintaining energy, and staying mentally alert. Shoot for 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night.