We all know that keeping fit and healthy is something we should all aim for, but once retired this can be a real challenge.
We ask our friend Simon Roll from Alive and Active to tell us more about the importance of keeping active in our retirement.
“Throughout much of the last couple of decades, the benefits of healthy eating and regular exercise have been drummed home to us all. We frequently see pictures in the papers of adults and children alike carrying far more weight than is necessary. The government have initiated several campaigns to get us all moving and eating better as the financial burden of our unhealthy lifestyles on the NHS is colossal
Despite their best intentions, I can’t help but feel that in their bid to keep Britain healthy, there is one population who have been a little left out of the loop, our seniors.
If anyone can gain a better life from the benefits of exercise it is surely our golden generation. I know we all look forward to retirement as a time to slow down and do what we want as and when we please. Surely we’ve earned it by then? Of course we have but we must also be aware that there are trade off’s to a new sedentary lifestyle.
I recall my mother in-law retiring from work as a full time teacher in a secondary school. Not less than a year after retirement, I remember her saying “I honestly don’t think that I could now keep up the pace of what I was doing a year ago”. Ok, so this is not the biggest sin but what if we start slowing down at other things such as our brisk walking speed to a level that now suits a less hectic lifestyle? Carrying the shopping bags in one or two at a time in favour of the old ‘three in each hand’ because everything had to be done in a hurry. Consider our household technology; upgrading our vacuum cleaner to one that is far easier to push around, easy glide irons, power steering on our cars… the list goes on.
Without realising it, we’ve made our lives so easy that we rarely exert ourselves at anything. Before long, going back to a life where we could walk fast, lift heavier objects and perform an activity for any length of time has become almost impossible.
I say ‘almost’ impossible because it is never too late to exercise and turn back the clock. However, it does need to be the ‘right’ kind of exercise. I’m a firm believer that working on muscle strength, flexibility and endurance are fundamental to staying healthy and mobile in our older years, as is working at a level just outside of our comfort zones.
Core work is another ‘must’ as a weak core leads us to slumping, poor posture and as a result poor balance. Trips and falls are a frightening concept to most over a certain age, particularly to those suffering from diseases such as osteoporosis. A quality exercise programme can help improve balance, coordination, strengthen bones and joints and even help reduce the pain of arthritis.
Need more convincing?
Not only is exercise a huge plus from a physical point of view but it is also fantastic for us where matters of the mind are concerned. Feeling fitter gives us confidence, boosts our self esteem and even relieves anxiety and symptoms of depression.
There are dozens more reasons why exercise is beneficial to our health in our senior years but my personal favourite is that it gives me the choice to stay independent for as long as possible and live my retirement to the full.”
Why not visit www.aliveandactive.co.uk to find our how you can keep fit in your retirement.