5 Ways to Keep Active in Retirement

Post by Amol Kotkar

As you age, one of the most important keys to staying healthy is to keep active, both physically and mentally. Not only is it important to exercise your body to remain limber and strong but it is also critical that you keep your mind engaged and sharp.  With a focus on maintaining harmony between body and mind, you can be better prepared to move into retirement and live a quality second act. If on the other hand you choose to do nothing to further your health you could find yourself deteriorating at a quicker pace and unable to enjoy the freedom you have worked so hard to experience.

Here are a few simple but effective ways to stay active and on top of your game:

Gardening

Gardening is a great way to keep fit and gives you a fantastic sense of pride and responsibility as you grow your own plants and vegetables. While working in your garden, you’ll enjoy fresh air and sunshine. You are able to decide how physically involved you want to become perhaps leaving the heavy lifting to a friend or family member.  Should you decide to grow vegetables, you have the added bonus of being able to eat them afterwards knowing exactly what has gone into their growth as far as pesticides and fertilizers. And you creatively engage your mind as you choose what to grow and construct the lay out for the perfect garden plan to fit your space and preferences.

Swimming

For those who love keeping fit, swimming is an excellent choice. While allowing you keep active, it is far less impactful than other cardio activities such as running. Your knees and hips will be much happier as you cruise through the pool improving your stamina with every stroke. Swimming is also a good option if you have recently had surgery as it may well be a part of your rehabilitation. And you never know who you might meet poolside.

Puzzles

As well as keeping physically active, it’s also important to keep mentally sharp. This is particularly important for physically disabled people who may be limited in their abilities. Puzzles offer a challenge while holding out the tantalizing promise of satisfaction should you successfully complete the task at hand. The varieties are many including Sudoku and crosswords or you may want to try ‘physical’ puzzles, such as Rubik’s Cubes, which help with physical as well as mental dexterity. Games of chess or checkers that require strategizing and seeing multiple steps ahead are also excellent. Even the lowly tic-tac-toe can get your mental juices flowing should you be so inclined.

Walking

This one may sound a little obvious but just going for a walk can be a great way to keep active. Again the exercise is low-impact and just a 15 minute walk a day can work wonders. Take the time to wander your neighborhood and visit nearby attractions. Having a regularly scheduled walk time such as after dinner or first thing in the morning can help to stay on track. Many places have local parks and hiking trails for the more adventurous. Even just a trip down the local shops or restaurants to can assist in your efforts to keep joints and muscles loose yet strong. The key is to get out and get to it.

Yoga

The thought of doing something like yoga might make your blood run cold, but it’s actually a fantastic way of keeping supple and flexible. And you don’t have to be able to bend your legs behind your head, either; there are some simple stretches that most people should be able to do. Take your time and don’t overdo it to avoid possible injury. Listen to the trained instructor who can guide you to assure you do the poses correctly for the most benefit. There are other types of exercise similar to yoga, such as Pilates, which may also be of interest and benefit.

All elderly people can keep active in some way or another. Retirement living should not mean an end to being physically or mentally active. Even those in retirement homes can still lead active lifestyles, and companies such as Extra Care can ensure you find a home that can help your retirement living stay active, no matter how old you are.

Winter Activities for the Elderly

Post by Jason Tucker

Keeping active is important for all ages and proven to benefit us physically, mentally and emotionally. Whilst keeping active during the spring and summer months is relatively easy, winter can often present challenges to our usual routines. For elderly people keeping active in winter can be extremely difficult, particularly when bad weather and dark evenings can make travelling difficult or even unsafe.

However, they are a variety of ways elderly people can overcome the obstacles presented by winter and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle during winter months. Although outdoor physical activity can be difficult, gyms and local leisure centres provide affordable ways of maintaining physical fitness in a safe and warm environment throughout winter. Many offer fitness courses which extend right through winter as well as weekly group classes specifically aimed at older members. Gyms typically offer a range of social activities and clubs which members can join in order to increase their fitness and socialize with other members. This can be ideal for older people who wish to maintain or improve their physical fitness but are unable to do so outdoors during cold winter months.

In addition to maintaining physical health, it’s essential that elderly people take care of their mental and emotional health. The short days and long evenings can leave many feeling isolated and some people struggle to undertake day-to-day activities if weather is particularly bad. Fortunately many groups and community services cater for individuals who may need additional assistance during winter. For example, some community support services will assist with shopping or travel requirements for elderly people who may need a little extra help.

Elderly people can also undertake a variety of activities throughout winter to stay mentally and physically engaged. Festivities taking place throughout winter means there is ample opportunity to volunteer in organizing or arranging local or family events. Many charities require additional volunteers throughout this time and there are varied tasks to ensure people with varying abilities are able to take part. For example, many community services require help in wrapping gifts to be distributed to local children or organizing local Christmas fairs or serving food to the needy.

For elderly people who take a keen interest in gardening, winter need not mean the end of their gardening activities. Those with access to a greenhouse can continue to cultivate plants whilst those without can still grow window boxes or prepare bulbs for the next season. Enabling elderly people to modify their usual activities so as they can continue throughout winter is a great way of ensuring they are able to remain active and agile throughout the winter.

There are a number of classes and groups which welcome elderly people and many which are specifically aimed at the unique requirements of the older generation. Many of these offer support with travelling for people who may struggle to attend without assistance. By accessing these services, elderly people are able to maintain their activities and interests and ensure they are able to continue to socialize and remain active throughout the winter.

If you’re worried about an elderly relative, ensure they get all the help and support they need. Hallmark offer residential care homes, which offer the elderly with an active and friendly environment to live in. Hallmark has care homes in Wimbledon and across the UK. 

Keep busy to stay sane in retirement

One of my biggest fears of retiring is the challenge of finding ways to keep busy and engaged in meaninfgul activities each day. As I shared previously in my 4 fears about retirement blog, I am just not sure I am creative enough to consistently find quality activities that add to a meaningful retirement lifestyle.

I recently took a retirement test drive for a year and a half and at the end was more than ready to get back to work. I was finding myself a bit slower than normal and already getting bored with my routine. And I was not just sitting back – I traveled, knocked out my to-do list that had been accumulating for a lifetime, read like there was no tomorrow, started blogging – there was no moss growing on this rock!

As a matter of a fact, part of my Retirement-only the beginning blog included some research with specific ideas to keep busy in retirement, a good homework project for sure.

But it was not enough.

Fortunately I have some years to plan for my permanent retirement so I am building my list of ideas to keep busy. Take a look at the beginnings of my list on 20 ways to stay busy in retirement.