Wondering how to stay active in retirement? Here’s some tips to get you started – and help you keep going.
Regular exercise plays an important role in keeping you healthy at any stage of life – and this is especially true when you’re over 55. But unfortunately, the number of seniors leading a largely sedentary lifestyle is on the rise. The good news is, though, that there are plenty of ways to exercise that are fun and safe for older Australians. So, whether you enjoy social activities or solitary pursuits, there’s a wide range of exercise options to choose from.
Walking is a great place to start when building up your fitness. Plus, you can choose the type of walking that suits you best. From short, slow walks to faster, more challenging hikes, or a daily stroll around your neighbourhood, there’s a walk to suit all fitness levels.
If you’re looking for some added motivation, a walking group is a fun and engaging way to exercise and meet new people. The Heart Foundation network of free walking groups operate all around Australia, and you can search on their website to find a group that is close to you. Or, if going on a quiet stroll by yourself is more your style, you can also join them as a virtual walker, which allows you to track your fitness progress online.
An ideal form of exercise for older people, swimming can be as gentle or strenuous as you choose. It builds cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength, which helps you maintain a healthy weight. Swimming also keeps your heart rate up, without putting extra strain or stress on your body. Plus, a recent study shows it may even reduce your risk of a fall.
Most towns and suburbs have public pools available, and if you live in a retirement community that has an indoor and outdoor heated pool, you have the freedom to enjoy a swim anytime. Depending on your ability and fitness, you may choose to swim laps, or join a group activity like water aerobics, or even take a learn-to-swim class. Whichever you decide, swimming is a great exercise option for seniors.
Exercising at the gym means you’ll have use of the facilities and lots of equipment available, plus, you’ll also have access to fitness trainers who can put together a specialised program just for you. When you’re working on a personalised program, the exercises you are doing will be right for your body and match your fitness goals, which allows you to make the most of your workout time and reduces the risk of injuries. One downside is that gym memberships can be quite expensive – which is why it’s a bonus for residents of retirement communities that have a gym on site, such as Village Lifestyle Park in Traralgon.
Sports for Seniors
Playing sport benefits both the body and mind – it gets you active and is social and fun. Popular sports for retirees include golf and lawn bowls and both are enjoyable to play and a great way to meet people and have a social outing as well.
Golf can be competitive or played just for fun, in both groups and independently. It’s both mentally and physically challenging, but it can be enjoyed by people of all abilities. If you’re keen to try golf you may decide to have lessons to improve your skills and technique, and when you’re ready to hit the course there’s plenty of public access golf courses you can try. Lawn bowls can also be played solo or in a team, and there are clubs all around Australia. The health benefits of lawn bowls include improved coordination and fitness, and the game is well-suited to and very popular with seniors all around the country.
Get Started Now
It’s no secret that retirees who choose to stay active are healthier and happier. No matter what type of exercise you choose, having the right attitude is so important, otherwise it will seem like a chore. When you do something you enjoy, and focus on the benefits you’ll gain from increased activity, you’ll set yourself up for long term success – so make 2017 the year you start moving.
Over to you
If you have some more ideas for staying active in retirement we’d love you to share your thoughts in the comments section below!