Exercise is a word that makes many older folks shudder. Retirement doesn’t mean sitting in a rocking chair in front of the TV for the rest of your life. Exercise is important to maintain your health during retirement.
Improving your health doesn’t have to include an arduous workout routine. You don’t have to have special clothes. You don’t have to have a gym membership where you exercise and sweat your retirement away.
Simply put, to remain (or get) healthy, you must increase your physical activity. This can be done gradually with a goal to change your behavior not wear yourself out.
Burning just 200 to 300 calories a day through moderate exercise will decrease your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even some cancers. You’ll increase your fitness which will lead to greater enjoyment of life.
Activities for Health
Some of the easiest way to increase activity is often over looked.
- Increase the number of steps you take each day. That alone will go a long way toward burning calories and exercising muscles. Buying a pedometer will help you track your steps, but it is not necessary.
Most people over the age of 50 with a sedentary job or life style get between 2000 and 4000 steps a day. Increasing this is easy. Every time you go to a store or a restaurant, park away from the front door and walk instead of driving around until you find a spot in the “rock star parking” area.
- Stand instead of sit. Standing burns more calories than sitting. When you talk on the phone, get out of your seat and walk around. Use even more calories by walking around while you talk.
- Move around. Even slow walking burns twice as many calories as sitting..
- Do household chores. Catch up on your gardening. Do minor repairs. Repaint a wall. Hang decorative wallpaper on a feature wall in your bedroom. Rearrange the furniture. Organize a closet. The list is endless of small activities that can burn calories each day.
Keep on Track
The problem with making a determination to get more exercise is that it is too easy to fall into old habits, again. Long established behavior is difficult to overcome, especially if that behavior is avoiding anything strenuous.
- Set goals. Aim low at first. For example, aim at 5 minutes of walking. When that goal is achieved, then increase it to 6 minutes. Once you reach your goal, you will be inspired to continue on to the next goal.
- Monitor your progress. Recording your physical activities in a diary can help you develop momentum for reaching your goals. Keep the entries short so keeping the diary doesn’t become a chore. Just record an activity and make note of when you achieve your goal for that day.
Safety First. The suggestions listed here should be safe for anyone. Just do a little bit more of what you would normally do. I am not a doctor and I am not giving medical advice. Check with your doctor before starting any kind of exercise program to make sure you can safely do it, especially if you have a history or heart problems, osteoporosis or other physical difficulty that could interfere with your activity.
Important: If you experience worrisome symptoms while exercising, like tightness in your chest, chest pain, a sudden sharp pain in a joint or muscle, or extreme difficulty breathing while exercising contact your doctor immediately.