Retired? It’s Nothing To Lose Your Balance Over!

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Retirement is nothing to lose your balance over.

Dr. Alicia Arbaje said, “weakness and loss of balance are usually symptoms of inactivity, not old age”.

There is some decline in our balance as we age. This is normal.

It concerns retired and aging people because we have all heard of a senior who has fallen. They have fractured a bone or hit their head, and have never been the same. We don’t want it to happen to us.

As seniors, there could be several reasons for loss of balance.

Our vision could be getting worse. If we can’t see clearly, we may fall. If we are taking medications, they can interact and cause dizziness. Even low blood pressure can cause dizziness and loss of balance. An inner ear infection can cause us to be lightheaded. Loss of balance is not always because of normal aging or inactivity.

Is there anything we can do about our loss of balance?

Two Ways To Fight Loss Of Balance

There are a couple of ways to fight our loss of balance. One is by staying active. The second is by doing some specific exercises that can improve our balance.

1) Staying Active To Avoid Loss Of Balance

Staying active and exercising does not necessarily mean going to a gym.

a. Walking is a natural movement for the body. Brisk walking will get your heart rate up. It will also provide many benefits to your body, including improving your balance.

b. Swimming is a gentle movement for the body. It will also improve your balance.

c. Riding a bicycle can strengthen your leg muscles. And the act of balancing the bike will help your body improve its balance.

d. Bowling, tennis, yoga, and dancing are also great ways of staying active as retirees. They also improve our balance.

What staying active comes down to is you. Do what is comfortable for you.

If you don’t like an activity, try something else!

2) Exercises To Improve Balance

There are many specific exercises that we can do at home to improve balance. These exercises will also help prevent our loss of balance.

The only equipment you need is a straight back chair, a wall, or a countertop to grab, or touch, for support if needed.

a. Walk in a straight line, placing your heel directly in front of the toes of your other foot. Need a line? Follow the grout line between the tiles on the floor. Or use blue painters tape and make a line. The blue tape will not leave residue on the floor as other tapes might.

b. Without holding on to anything, raise up on your toes 10 times. Repeat, only this time with your eyes closed.

c. Stand on one leg with your eyes closed. Try to improve your time.

If these exercises aren’t your thing, do an internet search. There are many other examples out there in the internet world.

Conclusion

Some loss of balance is due to aging. Most loss of balance is due to inactivity.

Staying active as a retiree will help prevent loss of balance. Staying active can also help improve your balance.

Some of the many activities you can try are bike riding, brisk walking, swimming, or yoga.

Find activities you like! Activities that you will do!

Another way to improve your balance is with some specific exercises. Most of these exercises we can do in our home. Most need no equipment other than a wall or straight back chair.

Are you staying active and doing some specific balance exercises? Are you still losing your balance? Please see your doctor. It could be your vision or the medications you are taking.

Let’s stay active and not lose our balance over retirement.

Next, we will be talking about staying active and social interaction. Cards anyone?

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Retired? Stay Active To Help Ward Off Illness!

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Hippocrates said, “Even when all is known, the care of a man is not yet complete, because eating alone will not keep a man well; he must also take exercise. For food and exercise, while possessing opposite qualities, yet work together to produce health.”

Hippocrates was a Greek physician who is referred to as the father of medicine. He thought exercise as important as diet for prevention of illness.

In the 20th century, there was an enormous shift away from prevention to treatment. This was due to advancement in the medical and pharmaceutical fields.

As retirees, we need to shift our focus from treatment back to prevention. Activity is an important element for maintaining our health and warding off illness.

Two Groups Of Illness Affected By Staying Active

There are many types of illnesses. Let’s look at two groups that are affected by staying active.

1) Chronic Diseases

Regular exercise and activity can improve your health. They can also help you handle symptoms you may have.

a. Diabetes – Activity can help insulin lower your blood sugar level.

b. Arthritis – Activity, and exercise can reduce pain and strengthen muscles in joints.

c. Back pain – Activity can improve the muscle function in your back and help reduce symptoms.

d. Heart disease – Activity and exercise can improve your heart health. Most rehabilitation after a heart attack is centered around physical exercise.

2) Ordinary Sickness

Ordinary sicknesses would include the common cold, flu, respiratory infection, and even stress.

Research suggests that exercise and activity can be effective in preventing and treating sickness.

a. Cold, flu, respiratory infection – Activities such as bicycle rides and walks boost the immune system. A strong immune system can ward off such sickness.

b. Stress – Activity can reduce stress by relaxing your mind and body. This is important. Stress can negatively affect your immune system. This would make you more prone to sickness.

Conclusion

As retired adults, we need to get back to prevention rather than treatment. Hippocrates believed exercise was as important as diet for preventing illness.

As we age there are many chronic diseases that can trouble us. And there are annoying germs that give us common sicknesses.

Staying active will help ward off illness. If our bodies are active and healthy we can prevent some illnesses. We can reduce the symptoms and recover more quickly when we do get ill.

We will look at recovering quicker from illness in the next post.

Let’s go take a walk!

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Retired? Stay Active To Improve Bone Health!

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For most people, bone loss begins after age 30.

By the time we reach retirement age, if not before, we become concerned about our bone loss.

We know of friends that fall and fracture bones. We hear that word osteoporosis, which means bone mineral loss.

Is there anything we can do?

As we age, we will never get back to the peak of our bone mass. We can stay active and improve our bone health.

Ways We Can Improve Our Bone Health

There are plenty of exercises and activities we can do. Let’s look at a few of the activities that can improve our bone health.

1) Weight-Bearing Activity

Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you have to find a gym and lift weights.

You are the weight!

This is exercise and activity that you do on your feet. Your bones will fight against gravity to keep you standing. As your bones are stressed by moving your body around, it makes them work harder and become stronger.

Some weight-bearing activities to consider are:

a. Brisk walking

b. Hiking

c. Jumping rope

d. Tennis

e. Stair climbing

As always with a new exercise or activity, know your limitations. Check with your doctor, if needed. Start with a smaller amount and gradually increase.

2) Strength Training Activity

Strength training activities and exercises are when you add resistance to movement. An example would be holding small weights while doing an aerobic workout.

Some strength training activities you might want to consider are:

a. Weight lifting

b. Weight machines

c. Running

d. Push-ups (your body is the weight)

Most strength training activities increase your muscle mass. But they also put stress on our bones thus improving our bone health.

3) Other Forms Of Activity

Other non-impact exercises are not as effective at improving your bone health. These activities do provide flexibility and can strengthen your heart and lungs.

This could be activities such as:

a. Swimming

b. Bike riding

c. Yoga

If you have not been active for a while you can start with these types of activities. As your body starts to feel stronger you can then add in the weight-bearing activities.

Conclusion

When we are retired, how can we stay active to improve our bone health?

If you have not been active, start with a non-impact activity such as yoga or swimming. 

When you are stronger, begin taking part in weight-bearing activities.  These activities will improve your bone health.  Try brisk walking or hiking as a weight-bearing activity.

As retirees, we want to have strong bones.  We don’t want to fracture any of those bones if we fall.

Our muscles and bones work together.  Next time we will learn if staying active will help us prevent muscle loss.

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