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.
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.
"We don't stop playing because we grow old; We grow old because we stop playing" - George Bernard Shaw
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 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:
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.
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:-
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:
There are one and a half units of alcohol in:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.