Retirement is a rite of passage, a longed-for time of fun and
fulfillment finally realized. But it’s important to have an idea of how you’ll
fill the time and what you’ll do with this phase of your life.
Sometimes seniors feel adrift after retirement, having lost the 9-to-5
structure and anchor of personal and professional responsibilities. This can
lead to a decline in physical and mental health, a dangerous pattern when one
considers that 10,000 Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age every day, according
to the Pew Research Center. That’s a lot
of people needing to stay engaged, because quality of life has a great deal to
do with remaining active as you age.
Games are a simple but beneficial activity that keep you mentally active and cognitively sharp. If you’ve always enjoyed playing Bunco with friends or love to while away the hours doing puzzles of all kinds, you’ve got a ready-made means of staying involved. Card games and bingo may seem unremarkable, but they’re actually quite beneficial for mind and body because they keep you cognitively engaged with healthful pursuits that bring you happiness. Plus it promotes socialization, which is particularly important as we age.
Exercise can be a daunting prospect for older adults, but it’s
absolutely indispensable, a quality-of-life cornerstone that keeps the weight
off and the blood pressure down. And it doesn’t
take all that much time – you needn’t set aside three hours every day for a run
or cross-country hike. Even 15 minutes a day can help stave off
depression and anxiety, decrease the likelihood of chronic illness, and make it
easier to get a good night’s sleep.
If you’re looking to combine exercise and social interaction, why not
enroll in a beginner yoga class? Yoga is a safe, relaxing and flexibility-enhancing activity
that’s become increasingly popular with seniors. Plus, it’s not going to put a
huge dent in your wallet as most studios charge between
$12-$16 or even let you try the first class for free.
Alternatively, you could set up a practice at home with some easy yoga videos
Aside from yoga, there are many simple exercises you can do from the
comfort and privacy of your home, so there’s no need to head off to a crowded
and chaotic gym. A simple daily stroll around the neighborhood with the dog can
have a marked effect on your physical health and mental outlook.
Keeping up with household chores and lawn maintenance is time-consuming
and takes away from activities that are a lot more fun. Not to mention that
certain chores can aggravate a physical condition and limit your mobility. So
unless you find mowing, vacuuming and scrubbing the bathroom tile to be
self-fulfilling, consider hiring a maid service to help you keep up
with those tasks that can pile up quickly. It’s an affordable way to free up
your time: homeowners in Madison typically
spend between $100 and $206 for a cleaning service.
You always looked forward to vacation time when you were
working; there’s no reason you can’t enjoy that same sense of anticipation as
you grow older. Whatever vacation means to you – a week at the beach, hitting
the road with family, or enjoying a trip abroad to explore your ancestry – it
should remain a regular part of your life. A vacation gets you out of your rut,
broadens your perspective and engages you both in mind and body.
The key to maintaining control over your mental and physical health is to continue pursuing activities that make you happy and find new ones that keep you interested and motivated. You may not be able to exercise the way you once did, but just a few minutes of physical activity each day will help you preserve your health and leave you feeling positive. Remember, you’re the one who has control over your own well-being.
Guest post from Jason Lewis
“I’m Jason Lewis, is a personal trainer. In 2002, I became the primary caretaker for my mother after her surgery. I realized as I helped her with her recovery, there is a special need for trainers that can assist the seniors in our community. I worked with my mother’s doctor, as well as other personal trainers, to create programs that are considerate to the special health needs of those over the age of 65. ”
Read more about Jason at Strongwell.org