The health benefits of staying active and social as you age are hard to ignore. From lowering your risk of depression and enhancing your social wellbeing to improving strength and stamina – there are a lot of good reasons to keep moving and stay well connected with friends.
But as we go through the different stages of life, maintaining a healthy and social lifestyle can be challenging. As circumstances change it can become harder to meet new people, stay in touch with old friends or do the activities you once did.
While ageing may bring its challenges, the truth is your retirement years are the ideal time to focus on you. It’s the time to picture the life you want, enjoy freedom and time, stay connected with others, enhance your mental health, take part in physical activity and continue learning.
So how do you stay active and healthy in retirement? Here are some of the most effective ways to maintain an active mind, healthy body and balanced lifestyle well into your retirement years:
Walk and talk
Joining a walking group is a great way to stay both social and active. Check to see if there’s a group in your local area through your local council. If you can’t find one, why not start your own?
It is estimated that one out of five older Australians suffer from social isolation which can contribute to depression and may affect mental and emotional health. Walking with a group will help you get to know your neighbours, explore your local community and connect with new people. In the cooler months, see what indoor activities your local fitness centres have to offer.
Join a book club
Starting or joining a book club is the perfect way to make new friends. If you can’t find a book club near you, reach out to those around you that have similar interests and would be happy to get together to discuss books over morning tea or refreshments. Many popular book club novels have suggested discussion questions in the back pages of the book for ideas and tips.
Find a fitness buddy
Exercise at every age is important but for those over the age of 65, it’s essential to maintain independence, recover from illness and reduce the risk of disease. According to government statistics only around one in 10 Australians over the age of 50 exercise enough to gain cardiovascular benefit.
Finding a fitness buddy or joining an exercise class that interests you will make exercising more enjoyable. There are plenty of organisations that offer activity classes specifically for older adults such as water aerobics or Tai Chi.
Start small and choose activities that will help to strengthen muscles and improve cognition, which becomes crucial as you age. These classes may also teach you exercises and stretches which can be done at home.
Become a volunteer
One of the greatest aspects of retirement is having the freedom to choose how you would like to spend your time. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and give back to your local community. Apart from helping others, you’ll be enhancing your own wellbeing through a sense of fulfillment and belonging.
Reach out to organisations that interest you or chat with your local council to see if any local groups need help.
Boost your brainpower
Show your competitive and strategic side by organising a games night. You could bring board games, hold a poker night or put on a trivia event. Card and board games can be a fun way to establish a weekly or monthly social event and exercise your brain without exerting too much energy.
Learn a new skill
While older often means wiser, it’s never too late to learn something new. Retirement can be the perfect time in your life to learn something you’ve always had an interest in, such as an instrument, language or creative activity.
See what is on offer at your nearest college or community school. You’ll not only learn something new but create new social connections.
Get into the garden
Gardening has proven health benefits for both mind and body including stress-relief and brain health. One study suggests that daily gardening can reduce the risk of dementia by 36%.
If you don’t have your own garden, see if your local area has a community garden you can help with. Apart from getting some light exercise and vitamin D, you can grow your own fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs. Which will benefit your health and your hip pocket.
At Anglicare, we aim to keep you or your loved ones happy and healthy, whether living in one of our retirement villages or still at home with care services provided. Each village offers a variety of facilities and services to keep you active and social. Each home care service is designed to help you maintain your lifestyle.
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