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How To Make Retirement Your Fittest Time Ever

Posted: December 08, 2017

Between working 40+ hours a week and raising a family, the first thing to go is often physical fitness. As seniors look forward to retirement, however, it’s not too late to reverse the damage. In fact, for many people, the extra time from retirement and disposable income from selling your life insurance policy makes this the perfect opportunity to get in the best shape of your life!

Make a physical fitness plan and stick to it

A common pitfall for retirees is settling into a sedentary routine of relaxation and socialization. While these are certainly good things, they can easily become an evil of excess without balance. Exercise needs to be part of any senior’s daily schedule, and if you want this to be the fittest time of your life, this is especially important.

Make a plan to do certain activities on specific days, and stick to it. Most out of shape seniors do best by starting small — for example, taking short walks, either around the block or on the walking trail at the nearby park.  Join family members on outings and shopping trips to get extra mileage on your Fitbit.  Become an interactive member of a senior fitness group. These groups usually meet at the local community center or senior organization.

Exercises that are great for seniors

Because the aging body is more prone to overexertion and injury than it was, say, if your 20s, certain forms of exercise are more recommended for seniors than others. Water aerobics is a well-known example. It provides good exercise for the cardiovascular system, and the cushioning effect of water make it easier on the joints. If you don’t suffer from joint pain, more intense aerobic activities like tennis, hiking, and running provide proportionally greater benefits.

But don’t forget strength training to build muscle — start with low-impact exercises like squats done in front of a chair in case you lose your balance. Resistance band training can also be beneficial. But if you want to achieve a state of superior fitness, you will need to work with a personal trainer.

Seniors in CrossFit

CrossFit is a trendy fitness program that is sweeping the nation. With notoriously intense workouts, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking that this style of exercise is best suited for younger participants. 77-year-old CrossFitter Jacinto Bonilla would tell you not so! All it takes is the courage to get started. A lot of devout CrossFitters got started in CrossFit without any previous training. The benefits? Heightened metabolism, better muscle tone, less painful joints, and less likelihood of age-related injury. CrossFit also helps enhance performance in other activities, such as martial arts.

Seniors in Martial Arts

Martial arts have been around for hundreds of years. They originated as different styles of self-defense and/or attack used by bodyguards and soldiers in every part of the world, with and without weapons. Most people think of this context when they think of martial arts, but martial arts don’t necessarily have to be violent, dangerous, or even particularly strenuous. If the elderly in ancient cultures could be martial arts masters, today’s elderly can certainly enjoy it as well. Even if you’re getting started a little later in life, martial arts training offers benefits of strength, balance, flexibility, community, and improved mental fitness.

The idea that retirement means sitting around the house doing nothing is outdated. With more time and resources to spend on yourself than ever, retirement can be the best time of your life. Take hold of this time. Make it meaningful.