Staying Active And Vital: How Seniors Can Feel Young And Healthy
By Jim Vogel, ElderAction.org
Retirement can be a time for relaxing, traveling, and spending weekends with the grandkids, but for many, it can be a lonely transition from an active life. It’s important for seniors to maintain things socially, to stay active and fit, and to find activities that they enjoy doing so that they can stay happy and vital.
As long as an individual is physically able, daily exercise should be a priority. Not only does it help us stay fit, it can benefit joint health, stress levels, and anxiety, and it’s something that can often be done with others in a social setting. Getting up and moving is hugely beneficial to both the body and mind; it’s recommended for those battling depression because exercising releases chemicals in the brain that make the individual feel happy, and it also allows the person to focus on the present moment rather than worrying about the future or ruminating on the past.
Here are some of the best ways to stay active after retirement.
It may not sound like exercise, but gardening is pretty labor intensive and requires a lot of energy, especially in warmer months. You’ll get the added benefit of reaping the rewards come harvest time if you choose to plant veggies. Just be sure to wear light, breathable clothing in layers and wear a hat and sunscreen anytime you’re outdoors. Bug spray isn’t a bad idea, either, especially in these times of the Zika virus.
Of course, you’ll only want to walk or jog on a well-maintained trail to avoid falls, and make sure to wear good sturdy shoes and stay hydrated. Choose a park that has plenty of benches or rest areas so that if you get overheated or tired, you can sit down and take a break. This is an activity you could do with friends or even a small group, so you can be social while you get in a workout.
Check with your local YMCA or public pool to see if there are classes available for senior activities, or just set certain days to go for a swim. Being in the water is calming and the weightless feeling helps you move more easily than you would on land, making it beneficial for joint pain.
Play with pets
Dogs can be a big source of comfort and fun for seniors; studies have shown that petting a calm dog can possibly lower blood pressure and stress levels. They are also great companions when it’s time for a workout. If you don’t own a dog, consider looking into dog walking or boarding through a site like Rover.com, which pairs up pet owners with responsible caregivers who can come let the animal out while they’re at work or out of town.
Staying active and healthy can help seniors feel they are their best selves, and it can also help push back the aches and pains that come with age. While safety is always a priority, it’s important to do what you can to feel good and get moving.
Jim Vogel created ElderAction.org along with his wife after they became caregivers for their aging parents. The site is dedicated to promoting senior health and providing valuable information to seniors and their caregivers to help ensure our nation’s seniors are able to thrive throughout their golden years.