Not Done Yet: Staying Healthy and Keeping Fit Long After Retirement

elderly man with dumbbellsMany people look forward to their retirement years. And this is generally because we work hard all of our lives and wish to enjoy the fruits of a life’s labor when we grow old.

But with growing old often comes certain physical limitations. And many times, these limitations can affect our quality of life after retirement.

Growing old is often synonymous with days spent on the porch, playing with grandchildren, and simply enjoying life. So the last thing anyone wants is to find themselves in a nursing home after retirement. And with all of the cases of abuse and neglect in nursing homes, this is a warranted fear.

The truth is, you can enjoy a good quality of life in your golden years by staying active and keeping fit.

Here, we’ll explore a few ways that you can keep healthy and stay fit long into your retirement.

Weight Lifting

After age 40, the state of our bodies begins its gradual decline. And though we may not recognize these changes immediately, they are occurring subtly all the while.

The fact is, we lose muscle mass as we age beyond 40. And you can lose up to 15 pounds of muscle mass per decade thereafter. But lifting weights is a great way to reverse this trend and to keep your muscles strong and flexible into your later years.

Studies have shown that those who begin weight lifting after age 50 show improved health and greater strength than those who allow their muscles to remain dormant, often resulting in a state of mild atrophy.

No matter what age you are, a light to moderate weight lifting regimen can allow you to keep your strength and to stay fit, even into your 80’s and 90’s.

Walking and Running

On November 6th, 2021, Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins of Louisiana set a world record in the 100-meter dash at the 2021 Louisiana Senior Games Competition.

Hawkins is 105 years old. And her little piece of wisdom that she offered everyone was “The older you get, the more passions you ought to have… Keeping active is one of my most important passions.”

Julia Hawkins is proof that no matter your age, if you want to accomplish something, age is never a factor unless you allow it to be.

Walking and running are two of the best exercises for cardiovascular health and to keep your endurance levels up. It’s the ability for the muscles to retain elasticity that allows us a full range of motion. And walking or running is known to keep the leg muscles along with the heart and lungs in great shape.

Even if running isn’t something you want to engage in, taking a brisk walk each day can work wonders for your health in your retirement years.

Swimming

If you’re looking for a low-impact workout with the best results, swimming is one of the best activities around.

Swimming works out much of the same muscle groups as running or walking. And this activity will keep just about every muscle group in your body stretched and activated.

A good swimming regimen also acts as a great cardiovascular and respiratory exercise which is known to help maintain endurance levels, proper circulation and keeps muscles toned. Additionally, with a low-impact workout such as swimming, you won’t have to worry about undue muscle strain or injuring yourself, which can be common with other high-impact workout regimens.

Just swimming for a half-hour a day or even swimming laps for about 15 minutes a day can work wonders for your body when you reach retirement age.

Growing older should be something that we can all look forward to. And it should never be looked upon as a stage of life that you want to avoid.

Keeping fit and healthy as you progress is age is the key to maintaining optimal physical health, but you can begin an exercise regimen at any age. Just be sure to consult with your doctor prior to engaging in any fitness routine.

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