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Maintaining Fitness and Health in Retirement

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 13 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Maintaining Fitness And Health In Retirement

No matter what age you are, regular exercise is one of the best ways to maintain good health and combat illness. Setting out a good fitness and health plan when you are in retirement or approaching later years does not need to be an arduous task but can include the simplest of exercises such as walking. Studies have shown that it only takes a very small increase in an elderly fitness plan to greatly boost health and fitness levels.

Walking; the Simplest Exercise

It is surprising how under rated walking is as a form of exercise, but in terms of boosting fitness levels, stamina, and staying mentally alert, walking is hard to beat. Many people are unaware that a brisk walk can burn the same calories per mile as running; it is also less taxing to the body than running and can be easily implemented into your daily routine.

There are a few easy ways you can improve your fitness and health levels by simply walking. Consider walking to the shops instead of taking the car, or simply choose to walk up stairs instead of taking the escalator or lift. Medical statistics have shown that it only takes 30 minute of walking per day to lower the chances of heart disease by 30% to 50%.

The Leisure Centre

Senior citizens should take full advantage of the discounts or reduced prices at the local leisure centre or gym. Most local leisure centres that are council run will have a swimming pool, gym and steam rooms. They will also usually run classes for senior citizens such as aerobics or Pilate, which are great ways to increase cardiovascular fitness.

Swimming is another easy way to increase fitness levels and is a great cardiovascular exercise. If you choose, your local leisure centre can easily become one of your main social meeting places. You will be able to meet new people with a similar interest in staying fit, and gain the best fitness and nutrition advice from the professionals who work there.

Other Forms of Exercise

Practically anything that gets the heart rate pumping will be good exercise to improve energy levels. If you have a garden then mowing the lawn or weeding are forms of exercise, even though it may not feel like it. Clubs such as dancing, golf, tennis, hiking, cycling and walking will all boost your fitness and health levels and help with anti-aging. If you want to stay fit then try chasing after your grandchildren for 30 minutes; a tried and tested exercise routine.

Fitness Benefits for the Elderly

Improving fitness levels, concentration levels, and boosting the immune system are a few of the benefits of regular exercise. Exercise helps to improve blood circulation, maintain a healthy weight, and cuts the chances of cardiovascular disease and mental illnesses such as depression.

The good news as far as elderly people and fitness regimes is that exercise has a greater benefit to the elderly than it does to the young. Studies undertaken by the University of Washington found that energy levels increased by as much as 30% in older people compared to only 2% in younger people when they undertook the same set of exercises.

Diet and Health

Although exercise plays a large part in the health and fitness levels of elderly people, the right diet is just as important. Maintaining a health diet and a good intake of fresh vegetables, fruits, oily fish, and carbohydrates will go a long way to boosting fitness levels and keeping the mind alert. Dehydration should also be kept at bay with around eight glasses of water per day; it only takes a very slight decrease in liquid intake to lower the levels of concentration. Cutting down on coffee, sugary drinks, tobacco, and alcohol will also help improve fitness levels and maintain mental alertness.

As long as regular exercise is practiced every day along with a healthy balanced diet, there is no reason why elderly people cannot enjoy a healthy lifestyle well into later life. Just look at the difference between active people and those who spend their time on the couch watching television. A good fitness and health plan will go a long way to enjoying every day of your retirement.

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