One concern I had about retirement was in regard to my physical fitness. A challenging stressful job encouraged me to attend the gym regularly and to walk whenever possible. I wondered if I lacked the discipline to maintain any ‘’keep fit’ regime. To encourage myself I undertook the ‘Couch to 5K’ challenge ( https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/couch-to-5k-week-by-week/) and committed myself to writing regular updates.(http://perpetually49.com/couch-2-5km/ – link to first of Blogs relating my experience)
I am not a runner by nature and I still dislike the activity, but I did complete the challenge. I then went on to gradually increase my distance until one day I ran 10Km in 1 hour and 15 minutes! And that was it – or so I thought. Having achieved such a level of fitness I am determined to maintain it for as long as possible, although not as a runner. So, what else is available?
I must acknowledge that some people enjoying running – as noted by the following link https://maturingwell.co.uk/index.php/2019/10/26/never-regret-going-for-a-run/ – uploaded by a Blogger who does enjoy a run.
I regularly attend a local gym. Although I use the equipment – Cross Trainer, Static Bike and Treadmill – I have not yet attended any of the group activities (available at no extra cost). I really must investigate these and try something. As I already attend a Iyengar Yoga group elsewhere I thought I would look for something with a faster movement – Zumba Gold? I am not a natural dancer so this will be interesting 😊
The importance of maintaining fitness is well documented not only for your physical state but also, very much so, for your mental health.
There are an increasing number of ‘Retiree’ Blogs and keeping fit and active is a common topic. I have inserted links throughout to some of those I found such as https://exerciseright.com.au/retired/ a general website with an overview of fitness – there are some downloadable resources which may be of interest.
Of course, keeping active is not only about running a marathon or going to a Kick-Boxing class – it is equally important to both enjoy what you are doing and to challenge yourself. (it is often said you should scare yourself at least once a day!)
If golf, hiking and/or sailing make you happy then doing these activities will add to both your physical and mental well-being just the same as swimming 3 miles before breakfast.
We talk about physical fitness yet not so much about mental fitness – except to worry about Dementia. A topic so much in the newspapers now, accompanied by reports of the lack of available treatments and the difficulties of early diagnosis. Enough to invoke the stress and anxiety often stated as a contributory factor! Although both my parents lived until their late 80s their latter years were blighted by the diagnosis of Dementia. So, I have first-hand experience of how the disease impacts on quality of life and the extended family.
Keeping mentally active by learning new skills, maintaining social interactions and physical fitness – alongside eating and sleeping well – are all factors often cited as beneficial to retaining mental agility.
https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/staying-mentally-active – general overview of retaining mental alertness
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-to-in-later-life – includes links to free downloads with information about how to stay mentally fit in your later years.
Short term memory issues such as ‘forgetfulness’ are common in all of us – who hasn’t been half way up the stairs and forgotten why you are going, or put the milk in the pantry and bread in the fridge?? When young we put this down to lack of concentration yet for the majority of us ‘oldies’ we worry that Dementia is setting in. Well, it might be but in reality, it is more likely to be as before – lack of concentration.
Social isolation is often noted to be a contributing factor to poor mental health so it is important to talk – join in family/friends events, accept invitations to gatherings, join a regular group activity local to where you live. Joining a group/club that meet regularly may sound frightening if you don’t like meeting strangers so remember – everyone in the group was new once and would also have been anxious at their first attendance. ‘Strangers are only people you haven’t met yet’. If going alone is an issue then perhaps contacting the group leader prior to a meeting would help. An introductory conversation giving you information about the group may even inform you that you do know some-one who attends.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/body/mind-healing-socially-active-retirement-good-health/ – general advice on staying social and avoiding boredom (it’s detrimental to your health)
http://www.talkhealthpartnership.com/blog/2019/11/5-effective-ways-to-prevent-loneliness-this-winter/ – the focus here is avoiding loneliness and isolation (which can lead to depression and lack of motivation) this winter
Working naturally provides opportunities to interact with others both at work and at work-related social events. This avenue of communication is often closed once retirement occurs so by acknowledging this when planning your retirement loneliness/isolation can be avoided – by identifying interest groups, starting a new hobby etc before retirement starts.
If you already feel the need for assistance with loneliness contact Silverline www.thesilverline.org.uk – a telephone friend will work with you to re-ignite your social confidence. Telephone number is 0800 470 80 80.
A very simple way of maintaining self confidence in social surroundings is to just leave the house. Yes, just put on your coat and go for a walk. You will be surprised how many others are also out and about, doing the garden, walking the dog etc. If you acknowledge their presence, then 99% will respond. Use the bus instead of the car where possible, as well as reducing your carbon footprint, you will be surprised how easy conversations start whilst at the bus stop.
In general – maintaining social interactions promotes both mental and physical health – so, put on your coat and keep those legs moving.
Further general information in links below:
https://arborliving.co.uk/7-of-the-best-ways-to-keep-fit-in-retirement/ – another easy to read site with general advice. Does highlight the need to be honest with yourself, sticking to your plan or changing it – disinterest encourages apathy as we all know.
http://toofattorun.co.uk/blogs/ – Okay, so this Blog is not necessarily about Retirement and fitness but is worth a read if you fancy moving the legs faster. Am guessing that you do not even have to be overweight – just keen to join in, yet aware you may be out-of-practice or needing a bit of encouragement.
https://www.wearejust.co.uk/health-and-lifestyle/physical-wellbeing/active-pastimes/ site with general information presented in an encouraging motivating manner, includes links to other sites for further in-depth information.
http://perpetually49.com/staying-active/ – original article written in 2018 with links to further information.