7 Ways for Older Adults to Stay Active in Retirement
This guest post was contributed by Julie Morris*, life and career coach.
Most people dream of the freedom that comes with retirement – the time to explore the world, spend with grandchildren, and pursue hobbies and passions that they enjoy. Staying active throughout retirement is one of the best ways to ensure your well-being as you age. If you want to live a vibrant, fulfilling lifestyle, here are a few ways to remain active long into your golden years.
1. Try your hand at gardening
Nutrition is a vital component of lifelong health and well-being, and what better way to ensure that you’re putting fresh, organic ingredients in your body than by selecting fresh vegetables from your garden? Gardening improves both mobility and flexibility while also ensuring that you’ll get some regular physical activity. Plus, when it’s time to make dinner, your fresh ingredients are readily available in your backyard.
2. Consider a part-time career
While volunteering offers tremendous benefits for older adults, supplementing your income may also be necessary or desirable depending on your individual financial circumstances. There are ample opportunities for seniors to continue making money throughout retirement. If you love dogs, offer your services as a pet sitter or dog walker. If you have specialized expertise, offer online or in-person workshops or courses to teach others your craft. Almost any interest or hobby can be turned into a career opportunity.
3. Join a senior fitness group
You might be surprised to learn that there are local groups and clubs dedicated to promoting physical activity among older adults. Senior fitness groups meet regularly to participate in group exercise classes, take daily walks, or even swim laps at a local recreation center. Of course, you can also engage in these activities on your own, but senior fitness groups offer the added benefit of built-in socialization with your peers.
4. Find creative ways to exercise
If a senior fitness group isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other ways to stay in shape as you age. From bowling to golfing, photography, playing with your grandchildren, shopping, and even using a video game system like the Nintendo Wii, you can get active by doing a great many different types of things. If you’re struggling with the idea of exercise and the thought of participating in group fitness makes you want to hide under the covers, try a few alternative activities to find out what types of activities motivate you.
5. Volunteer your time to a worthy cause
A sedentary lifestyle can lead to loneliness and isolation among older adults, especially those who spent most of their lives in the company of others. Retirement means that you no longer have a work environment to socialize with other people, but that doesn’t mean your options are limited. Volunteering is a way for seniors to give back to their communities while reaping many benefits at the same time.
6. Join your local senior center
You’ll find a senior center in just about any community or neighborhood. These organizations offer activities and other services for older adults, ranging from assistance navigating health care and senior care services to weekly bingo games, dances for older adults, ice cream socials, and other activities. If you’re feeling isolated and out of touch, joining a local senior center can be just what you need to meet new people and start engaging with the outside world again. If senior center membership doesn’t interest you, check with your local senior living community to learn what similar types of activities they offer that are open to friends in the community.
7. Learn a new skill
There’s never a downside to learning something new, and in fact, developing new skills is a great way to keep our minds healthy. Have you always wanted to learn a second language but didn’t have the time before retirement? Duolingo is a free online resource and app that can help you get started. Want to learn more about computers? Try making a website. Did you abandon piano lessons as a child but still have dreams of becoming a musician? Find a local teacher who caters to seniors. It really doesn’t matter what new skill you choose. Getting your proverbial wheels turning will strengthen your brain and give you a sense of achievement.
Staying mentally and physically active in retirement is crucial for your overall health and well-being, creating positive effects on both the body and mind. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways older adults can stay active and even get in shape without resigning yourself to an activity that doesn’t excite you.
*Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there. After years in a successful (but unfulfilling) career in finance, Julie busted out of the corner office that had become her prison.
Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts. When Julie isn’t working with clients, she enjoys writing and is currently working on her first book. She also loves spending time outdoors and getting lost in a good book.