If hitting the gym doesn’t exactly appeal to you these days, there are plenty of ways to keep active and care for your body at home or out and about.
When I pictured post-retirement bliss in Bermuda, I imagined endless days on the sunlounger with a good book, sipping cocktails in the sea breeze. I’ve slogged away my entire life! Now this time is for me to kick back, do nothing, and then rest afterwards.
My imagination conveniently forgot the expanding waistline, the aching joints, and the inability to keep up with my grandchildren. So now my plan is to slide into my senior years with care and attention to what my body needs so that I can really make the most of my retirement (and yes, still enjoy the sunlounger whenever I like.)
Before we start with the tips, it’s important to note that if you are not already physically active, recovering from an injury or you’re concerned about your health or safety, speak to your doctor before starting a new exercise regime.
1. Get ready to get sweaty!
There’s no way around it, getting fit requires you to compromise your comfort in some way, so leave the excuses behind. “It’s too hot”, “it might rain at some point today”, “I just washed my hair”, there will always be a reason to not exercise.
Each time an excuse pops up in your head, ask yourself “is it really that bad that I can’t even attempt to do my chosen exercise for the day?” And if it is, ask yourself what activity you can do instead. If it’s hot, head to the swimming pool. If it’s forecast to rain, try an at-home workout.
2. Iyengar Yoga
If you’re currently picturing a svelt 20-something doing the splits upside-down, or people frantically moving from pose to pose, clear that image from your mind right now.
Yoga is a fantastic option for seniors. It improves flexibility and strength which is important for helping you stay independent, but it is also second-to-none at building your balance and preventing falls.
One of the best forms of Yoga for seniors is Iyengar yoga, which was developed specially for people with physical limitations to help them perform the poses correctly and prevent injury.
3. Take A Stroll
You don’t need to power walk or hike up a hill to get the benefits of a day out in nature. Movement at whatever speed is beneficial. If you’re concerned about elevating your heart rate too much, an easy, gentle stroll is a great place to start. What’s more, you get to enjoy your beautiful surroundings in Bermuda.
Start by walking around your neighbourhood and build up your stamina day by day. Once you’re quite steady on your feet, invest in a pair of walking shoes, and enjoy a gentle 2km walk around Spittal Pond Nature Preserve. The trails are kept clear to make the walk easier, but there are a couple of spots along the trail that you may find tricky without a helping hand or a trekking pole to keep you steady.
4. Hit The Pool
If you have dodgy joints or are recovering from an injury, a low impact sport like swimming is a great option.
The public pool at Bermuda National Sports Centre is open to the public every day, and they even offer a water aerobics class called Fluid Fitness, which according to their website is suitable for “just about anyone at any age.” Check their current schedule to find out when classes are running.
5. Get Fit At Home
Do you know who still looks incredible at 82? Jane Fonda. The workout queen was still releasing videos in her 70s aimed at seniors with low-impact, aerobic exercises that really get the heart pumping and toning strengthening exercises. And here’s a really sneaky tip – they’re free to watch on the BeFit YouTube Channel.
It’s fun to hear her stories interspersed within the workout and reassuring to learn that Jane herself has had some injuries along the way and has managed to spring back into shape.
6. Enjoy Watching Your Progress
Change won’t come quickly, and part of the challenge of getting into shape is patience. Don’t try and rush your progress or you’ll risk injury. Take it to step by step and enjoy the small victories, like being able to walk that little bit further without getting out of breath. The greater moments will come.
It’s incredible how our bodies can still improve so much in our senior years. Did you know that some octogenarians can run marathons! So don’t give up on your body. Give it the care it deserves and you can enjoy a healthy and active retirement.