Will Staying Active In Retirement Improve Your Social Interaction?

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Staying active when you are retired does not only mean physical activity.

Research has shown that being socially active as we age has a positive effect on our physical and mental well-being.

You may have retired and lost daily social interaction with co-workers. Friends may have retired and moved away. We may lose friends and family due to death and illness.

Your previous social circle may have dwindled. Don’t worry.

By staying physically active you can build a new, strong, and large social circle.

3 Ways To Stay Active And Increase Your Social Interaction

If we stay physically active in retirement there are a variety of health benefits. Social interaction can also have a major impact on your health and wellness. Here are three of the many ways to stay active and increase your social interaction.

1) Reach Out To Your Family

When you are available, offer to babysit the grandkids. Take them to the zoo, the park, fishing, on a bike ride, etc.

Offer to take a family member, child, or adult out to lunch.

2) Join, Or Start, A Club Or Group

What are your interests? Photography? Bike riding? Golfing?

Meeting with groups of people who share your interests will help you develop and maintain a social network.

3) Learn Something New

Is there an activity or skill you have always wanted to learn? Is it something like pottery, swimming, bowling, or horseshoes? Learning is a great opportunity for social interaction.

Check with a local college or technical school for available classes. The university in my town will allow seniors to ‘audit’ some classes free. You can go learn and you don’t have to take the tests!

Conclusion

Staying active in retirement can improve our social interaction. Social interaction is as important as physical activity for a healthy, happy retirement.

There are many ways to stay active and improve our social interaction at the same time. You may have to try several activities before you find the one, and the group, that is right for you!

The important thing is to stay active, both physically and socially!

Next time, let’s talk about some ways we can stay active as retirees.

I’m going for a walk!

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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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Will Staying Active As You Age Help Prevent Muscle Loss?

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There is a name for age-related muscle loss. It is a condition called Sarcopenia.

As with bone loss, muscle loss can begin after ages 30 – 40. Most adults achieve peak muscle mass during their late 30s.

There are two main ways to prevent or treat Sarcopenia. Exercise and staying active is one way. Diet and nutrition is the second way. We need to be mindful of both.

The diet part includes plenty of protein and vitamin D. We will concentrate on the staying active way.

Types Of Activities To Help Prevent Muscle Loss

There are two types of activities that can help older adults prevent muscle loss.

One is aerobic activity and the second is resistance activity. As we age we need both for the best prevention of muscle loss.

1) Aerobic Activity

Aerobic activity helps our bodies in many ways. We need to work at completing 30 minutes of aerobic activity on most days.

Aerobic activity for seniors can include:

a. Swimming

b. Hiking

c. Tennis

d. Walking briskly

If you have not been active, start with 5-10 minutes at a time.

Aerobic activity of itself does not prevent muscle loss. It will increase our energy levels. This gives us the needed energy to take part in resistance activities.

2) Resistance Activity

Resistance activities can strengthen and help maintain our muscles.

If your choice is going to a gym, you can use weight machines or free weights.

If a gym is not your thing, there are plenty of other options. Activities that use your own body weight are a good option.

Resistance activities for retirees can include:

a. Push-ups

b. Squats

c. Planks

d. Hip lifts

e. Resistance bands

f. Yoga

Yoga is a good choice as it will also improve flexibility.

Resistance activities and exercises can be accomplished with common household items also. Items like cans of soup or juice jugs filled with sand. These activities do not have to be expensive. And for dual duty, you can add the household items to your aerobic workout!

Conclusion

Yes, staying active as you age will help prevent muscle loss, or Sarcopenia.

Staying active may mean finding and learning new activities.

You may have to find a group or place that offers some help in learning resistance activities. For help check with the YMCA, YWCA, local health clubs, senior centers, or even the local hospital.

As aging adults, we can spend a lot of our time engaged in sedentary activities. Being sedentary causes our muscles to break down. A loss of muscle can lead to injury. Injuries need time to heal which leads to more sedentary activities.

So let’s stay, or become, active. Let’s incorporate some resistance exercise and activities into our lives. Let’s prevent muscle loss!

Now that our muscles are strong, are there other health benefits to staying active? Next time we will see if staying active when we retire can help ward off illness.

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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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Can Staying Active In Retirement Affect Your Mental Health?

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You retired and left the working world. If you liked your job, it could have been difficult to leave. If you didn’t like your job, it was very easy to leave.

Either way, it was a big change in your lifestyle. And big lifestyle changes can cause an imbalance in our mental health.

But, by staying active, you can boost your mental health.

Let’s look at three elements of our mental health that will benefit from staying active as we age.

3 Elements of Mental Health That Will Benefit

1) Staying Active Decreases Symptoms Of Depression

In retirement, your lifestyle changes in many ways. This may leave you feeling depressed, sad, or dejected. This, in turn, can affect you in physical ways. It can affect your sleep, your appetite, your energy level, etc.

If, however, you stay active, you will feel less depressed. There are physical changes that take place within our bodies when we are active. These changes decrease the symptoms of depression. Let’s keep moving!

2) Staying Active Boosts Your Mood

Do you know anyone, retired or not, that always seems to be in a bad mood? As retirees we don’t want to be that person.

Exercise and activity can help boost your mood. When we stay active, the physical changes that take place within our bodies can help us feel better.

When you finish that bike ride or help that young person learn to read, you feel better about yourself. Because of your positive mood, you will not be the ‘old grouch’.

3) Staying Active Can Help You Feel Young

Staying active in retirement can leave you feeling young. Sure, we can’t run as fast as when we were in high school, but we can still run, and finish, the race!

Staying active has many effects on the physical body. And when our physical bodies feel good, we feel younger. And that is a definite boost to our mental health.

As A.J. Styles said, “You’re only as old as you feel, and I feel pretty young.”

Conclusion

Staying active as retirees affects out mental health in positive ways.

If we don’t stay active we can become depressed, grouchy and old.

It is a vicious cycle that we can get into. We don’t want to be active because we feel depressed. We feel depressed because we are not active, and so on. Let’s break the cycle!

We want people who are still working to see us and be excited about their own future retirement.

In the next segment we will move from mental health to physical health. We will see if staying active can improve your bone health.

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What Does Staying Active In Retirement Mean?

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Staying active in retirement means moving your body and exercising your mind!

But now, unlike in your working life, staying active can be doing things you want to do, not things you are required to do!

If we don’t stay active our health may suffer and we won’t enjoy retirement. And, after all, we should enjoy it; we worked hard to get here!

When you hear the words “stay active” do you have visions of torture?  Things such as gyms full of scary looking equipment, strenuous exercising, sweating profusely, etc.?

Staying active does not have to mean those things!

Ways To Stay Active

When we retire, we may feel we deserve to relax. Relaxing is great, but don’t let it become your retirement lifestyle.

Staying active is wonderful for your physical and mental health and it does not have to hurt!

1. Get out of the house and move

Moving your body does not have to be working out in the gym unless that is your thing!

Move through your garden pulling weeds or move through your neighborhood in the form of a walk!

2. Volunteer

Volunteer at a place you enjoy, like the library, a museum, or a local school.

Helping people will keep you active and fulfill your need for social interaction.

3. Find like-minded groups

Another way to stay active is to find like-minded groups that enjoy the activities you enjoy.

Check your local resources to see what activities they offer. Resources might include local community centers, the YMCA, the YWCA, or senior centers. If there is not already a group for your activity (golf, photography, etc.) you could start one!

The Next Step

Staying active in your retirement means moving your body and exercising your brain. We do this by getting out of our homes and being involved in the world around us.

We used to stay active by going to work each day. Now we have to find new activities, but there are so many thing to try!

Some activities we try we’ll like and some we won’t. That’s okay, let’s keep moving!

In the next post I will discuss why it is important for retirees to stay active. See you then!

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