Why Its Important To Stay Active In Retirement (And How To Do It)

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There are many misconceptions about retirement. One of the main ones being that you are going to be happy and content simply relaxing for the rest of your life. For many people, retirement lasts the better part of 25 to 30 years. That is quite a long time to sit relaxing on a beach somewhere. 

On the contrary, retirement can be an exciting and active part of your life. It is the time when you can embark on passion projects, dedicate time to charitable giving, and actually take the time to do the things you have always wanted. Remaining active can help you stay independent longer and awaken your excitement for life and its adventures.

Staying active in retirement will not only improve your physical health but your mental health too. Let’s dive into some of the key reasons why being active will change your retirement lifestyle for the better. 

Health benefits of being active

It should come as no surprise that staying active can improve your physical health. But especially for older adults, regular activity can drastically improve their quality of life. Staying physically active allows people to better retain strength, flexibility, and endurance, all of which can help you stay healthier longer. 

Falls are one of the most common causes of death and injury in older adults. The CDC found that one in four Americans over 65 will fall each year, making them a public health concern. But regular exercise is one of the best ways to prevent falls because the strength it provides leads to balance and coordination. 

People who remain active are shown to have stronger immune systems, more stable blood pressure, and are at a lower risk for many diseases that impact people later in life including diabetes and obesity. 

Physical activity has also been linked to increased heart health which can improve oxygen efficiency, weight management, as well as decreased recovery time from injuries. This activity can also ease stress and boost overall morale.

Tips for staying active

Exercise will look different for each person. It doesn’t mean that you have to run marathons, it just means getting your body up and moving. Below are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Walk
  • Run
  • Garden
  • Bike
  • Water aerobics
  • Swim
  • Yoga
  • Dance
  • Weight train

This is just a brief list to help spark your imagination. Perhaps you like to ski or you are an avid hiker.  No matter what you enjoy, make sure that you take the time to do it. If you enjoy exercise classes, check into local opportunities through your senior center, church, or other gathering spaces. Many communities put on classes such as yoga, pilates, and more for local residents. 

Be sure to consult with your healthcare expert to determine the type and degree of exercise that is right for you and your body. 

Mental benefits of being active

Have you ever finished a tough workout and felt like nothing could touch you? Like you were reinvigorated and ready to take on whatever would come your way? Regular exercise can release endorphins that actively boost your mood and increase morale. 

Consistent activity can help decrease your stress levels and improve the way you feel about yourself, an emotion that is not to be underestimated. Alongside emotional wellbeing, exercising can also keep your brain sharp and alert, increasing the quality of your life. 

While the exercise itself has many benefits including physical and mental, there is also something to be said for keeping your mind active throughout your golden years. 

Tips for staying mentally active

Prioritizing your mental agility is another important component of retirement. A few ways you can do that are:

  • Remain social
  • Engage with your community
  • Start new hobbies
  • Consider a part-time job 
  • Eat well
  • Continue learning (OLLI at Furman)
  • Do things that challenge you such as reading a tough book or playing a hard game, something that forces you to think in a way that might be different. 

Keeping yourself mentally active will help you push the boundaries for what you think is possible in retirement. For you, it might be a new business venture or dedicating time to a unique craft like music or art. The more you seek to challenge yourself mentally, the more chances you will have to learn new things and have new experiences. And isn’t that what retirement is really all about? Embarking on a beautiful new journey, sure to shine as bright as your imagination will let it. 

Live your retirement

Retirement is an exciting time for you to challenge yourself, physically and mentally, in order to live the life you were destined for. It is a chance for you to create new habits, form new relationships, and have new experiences with the people you know and love and those who you have not met yet. 

Activity in retirement can help you live your life in a deeper and richer way. Mental and physical exercise are important parts of your retirement plan. Schedule a time to talk with us so we can help you create a retirement plan that will leave you exploring for years to come. 

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