Active Retirement Living Promotes Health and Happiness.

mature couple on tandem bikes

Baby boomers who enjoy active retirement living will stand a much better chance of remaining fit and healthy for longer.

Age is not a barrier to staying fit. There are many things we can do to improve our health and fitness even in retirement.


"We don't stop playing because we grow old; We grow old because we stop playing" - George Bernard Shaw



If we want to carry on enjoying life we need to maintain a healthy lifestyle with lots of indoor and outdoor retirement activities.  We all know what it is like to be ill, whether it's just a bout of flu or something more serious. Your life is suddenly curtailed. You can't do or enjoy the things that you usually do.


Your quality of life is much more enjoyable if you are a healthy and fit. Most of us will find that our level of fitness and health starts to fall as we near retirement age. Yes I know you only feel 21 in your head, but be honest, somethings are not working as well as they use to!

All the more reason to make sure we give our bodies and mind the best possible chance of remaining active well into our retirement.

There are some steps we can take that will immediately improve our health and fitness so that we can enjoy active retirement living for many years.

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Limit the amount of Alcohol we drink
  • Quit Smoking
  • Take Regular Exercise
  • Maintaining Brain Power


Active retirement living + a healthy diet = higher energy levels!

fruit and vegtables

Eating a healthy diet will improve our energy levels and our immune systems so that we can enjoy active retirement living. We all know that we shouldn't indulge in "junk" food but we do. Quite often it's simply lack of time that makes us turn to fast food. In retirement we should have the time to prepare fresh food and eat more healthy foods.

A Healthy diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes, and cancer.

What we should aim to eat:

  • 5-7 a day fruit and vegtables.
  • White meat and fish rather than red meat.
  • Brown wholemeal instead of white, rice, pasta and bread.
  • Limit ourselves on anything sweet, i.e. biscuits, pastries,cakes and desserts.
  • Limit our consumption of processed food.
  • Always have breakfast (not a fry up!)
  • Eat the main meal of the day earlier rather than later.
  • Snacks should be limited and healthy i.e. fruit or nuts.


Maintaining a Healthy Body Weight

If you want to enjoy active retirement living then you need to be a healthy weight for your height and build. I'm not a believer in faddy diets. If you eat a healthy diet then your weight should remain reasonably stable. However we are only human and there are times when we over indulge, and then we need to restrict our intake to get those extra pounds off.

Generally I think it's better to reduce portion sizes and step up the exercise rather than cut out foods that we normally eat and enjoy. Depriving ourselves completely only makes us crave the food we've cut out.

It has been proven many times that people who go on very strict diets cutting out certain foods, only pile the weight back on when they come off the diet. Controlling portion sizes and eating lots of fruit and vegtables is far more likely to have a lasting effect.


Limit the Amount of Alcohol

We've all read that red wine particularly can be good for your heart, but when does drinking become harmful to you? The current guidelines on alcohol are:-

  • Men should drink no more than 21 units of alcohol per week (and no more than four units in any one day).

  • Women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week (and no more than three units in any one day).

The more you drink above these limits, the greater the risk of developing serious problems such as: liver disease (cirrhosis or hepatitis); stomach and pancreas disorders; depression; anxiety; sexual difficulties; muscle and heart muscle disease; high blood pressure; damage to nervous tissue; serious accidents; some cancers; obesity (alcohol has many calories).

Be sensible and don't exceed the guidelines to enjoy active retirement living.

One unit of alcohol is about equal to:

  • half a pint of ordinary strength beer, lager or cider (3-4% alcohol by volume), or
  • a small pub measure (25 ml) of spirits (40% alcohol by volume), or
  • a standard pub measure (50 ml) of fortified wine such as sherry or port (20% alcohol by volume)

There are one and a half units of alcohol in:

  • a small glass (125 ml) of ordinary strength wine (12% alcohol by volume), or
  • a standard pub measure (35 ml) of spirits (40% alcohol by volume)



Quit Smoking

Smoking is bad for you. It puts pressure on your heart and lungs and you risk developing serious diseases and have a higher chance of suffering from health problems. If you want to enjoy a long healthy lifestyle quit now, it's never too late.

You stand more chance of quitting successfully if you seek medical help to beat the nicotine addiction. Go to the National Health Quit Smoking website for more information. You will find within a few weeks of quitting you will be breathing easier so that you are more able to enjoy active retirement living.



Exercise



For most of us it's not a good idea to suddenly decide we are going to run a marathon, but there are plenty of activities that we can continue to do and even do more of as we get older. The secret is choosing things you enjoy doing and know your capabilities.

If you're doing something for the first time or it's been some time since you did any exercise, then it's best to limit the activity and gradually build on it as your fitness improves.

Before doing any form of exercise it's good to do a bit of stretching and flexing before you throw yourself into it.


Walking

No need to pay for expensive gym membership to stay healthy. A brisk 20-40 minute walk three times a week minimum will help you stay fit and healthy. Every day is even better.

If you don't enjoy walking on your own there are lots of walking clubs sprouting up all over the U.K. to encourage people over a certain age to improve their health and fitness.

Active retirement living can be a walk in the park or for the more adventurous there's the Ramblers Association. It's an opportunity to meet people and make new friends. Walking in the fresh air can lift depression and help to maintain a healthy heart. Staying active in retirement is also beneficial to maintaining a healthy weight and keeping those joints moving, even if they do creek a bit!


Dancing

Rock and Roll is probably not something we should indulge in to any great extent, my limit for my favourite rock and roll is probably about 60 seconds now! However, ballroom dancing and some of the Latin dancing is still within the capabilities of many people who enjoy active retirement living.

There are also classes running around the country now called Dancercise. Small easy to follow dance routines and steps set to dance music which makes the whole exercise routine much more fun. It's said to increase your flexibility and strengthen your muscles.

Check your local community centre for classes near you.


Cycling

What better way to enjoy active retirement living than taking up cycling and exploring our beautiful countryside. Cheaper than getting the car out, and so much healthier. Join a cycling club to expand your social activity or have a cycling buddy to enjoy rides with.


Swimming

Swimming is a great way to exercise without damaging those joints, particularly good if you have a bit of arthritis. It helps keep your body toned, and improve your cardiovasular function.



Maintaining Brainpower

Alzheimers and Dementia are something that many of us fear as we grow older. There are currently 750,000 people with dementia in the UK.

Losing your memory is not something that should happen as you grow old. Yes we all have "senior moments" but can usually recall things eventually. If you're worried about Alzheimers or dementia check out the warning signs.

Enjoying active retirement living with plenty of social contact with other people is said to help ward off the disease. Dementia is more likely to affect people who are isolated and spend a lot time on their own.

Other things we can do to help maintain our brain power.

  • Continue to challenge yourself by learning new things.
  • Eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Take a Supplement. of B12.
  • Take a supplement of Omega 3 Fish Oil.

Know the symptoms of dementia and when to seek to help. Although there is no cure at the moment for this disease there is evidence that if treated early on, many of the distressing symptoms can be delayed giving the patient more quality time.


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