This week’s post is a guest blog courtesy of Pixabay.com
If you’re a retired older adult, you may have regarded retirement as a time of relaxation and physical rest, a time during which you could begin to recover from the stresses and responsibilities of a busy professional and family life. It’s an understandable reaction, especially if you looked forward to retirement for many years. But you have to guard against mistaking relaxation for inactivity, which is an easy error to make, but one that can cost seniors greatly in terms of mental and physical health.
An absence of bodily and mental exercise can hasten one’s decline and undermine hopes for a healthy quality of life in later years. To achieve a healthy quality of life, you must take ownership of your overall well-being in order to truly reap the benefits of all those years of hard work and self-sacrifice. Following is some advice for seniors to stay healthy and happy during your golden years.
Stay in motion
A failure to get sufficient exercise after retirement will not only lead to the weakening of bones and muscles, but also memory loss and cognitive decline. Poor health, frailty and disease often result. Make the time to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, whatever form of physical activity you prefer. Simply walking can have a tremendously positive effect on your body and emotional outlook.
Seniors sometimes prefer to exercise with friends and be part of a group that offers social interaction and mutual encouragement. Taking part in a dance class, aerobics group or yoga class on a weekly basis will keep you fit and engaged with others. The average cost of a private yoga class ranges between $70 and $90, but group lessons are much less expensive and more fun (many gyms even offer them with their monthly memberships for no extra cost). You can also set aside a dedicated space at home where you can exercise on your own. Consider decluttering by putting belongings that are in your way into storage, which is a cost-effective option.
Exercise your brain
Brain health is essential for a maintaining a healthy quality of life, so make time for activities that keep your mind active and stimulated. It doesn’t have to involve learning Latin or doing calculus (unless you want to); you can stay mentally limber by playing simple but fun word or number games, or doing jigsaw puzzles or Sudoku – anything that concentrates and engages your mental faculties is beneficial.
Sometimes, seniors require some means of bolstering their physical strength and stamina. If you’re experiencing weakened muscles and bones, consider taking collagen supplements to help you stay active and motivated to pursue an active lifestyle and vibrant health. Look for supplements that are intended to strengthen your musculature while also easing joint pain, and do some online research to learn about supplements that might work best for you (note that a 1-month supply of top-rated powdered collagen can cost less than $15).
Stay in contact with friends
People often lose contact with friends as they grow older. However, a lack of social engagement can lead to the kind of isolated and sedentary lifestyle that contributes to rapid decline, illness and even mortality. If you’re not able to see friends on a regular basis, try to set up a weekly get-together, perhaps dinner out or a couple hours at your favorite coffee shop where you can discuss old times.
If physical contact isn’t possible as often as you’d like, turn to technology and use social media to stay in touch with friends. Facebook is an easy and convenient way to share news and thoughts with multiple people, and Apple’s FaceTime gives you the opportunity for face-to-face time with those you want to stay in touch with.
Become a pet owner
If solitude and loneliness are problems, why not get a dog or cat so you can benefit from the companionship and unconditional love they provide? Caring for an animal keeps you physically active, helps stave off depression, and keeps you feeling needed and responsible for another. Caring for a dog over the course of a year averages between $1,400 and $4,300.
If you’re an older adult, you don’t have to run a 2-minute mile or read Chaucer in Middle English to keep both your body and mind in tip-top shape. You can stay fully involved, motivated and engaged through simple, regular and enjoyable activity.