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15 Ways to Stay Active During Retirement

15 Ways to Stay Active During Retirement

Ahhh… Retirement… you have worked hard to get to this point of your life. Getting up early day after day to head to work, raising a family, dealing with whatever life throws at you in order to be successful has come to an end. Now your future – without all those responsibilities – awaits you!

“Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” –Fred Rogers

When you think about it, retirement really is a beginning. It’s a new way of life. Of course, you still have responsibilities, but your time is regulated by you, not the working world.

Unfortunately, for many new retirees, life isn’t what they hoped or dreamed it would be. They often begin to face boredom, their health begins to falter, and some even enter into depression.

How can you combat these pitfalls of retirement and live the life that you hoped it would bring? Staying as healthy as possible is a great way to start and staying healthy begins with being active.

An active body and an active mind are the best gifts you can give yourself during your retirement years. Keeping your body active through physical exercise is a great way to fight off aches and pains and even some diseases that tend to appear as you age.

Here are 15 suggestions to keep you active both physically and mentally.

9 Physical Activities to Keep You Active in Retirement

Activity #1: Walking and Hiking

Learn to enjoy the beauty around you with a nice walk around your neighborhood or maybe a hike in a local park.

This is a great time to listen to music or a podcast on your headphones or take a walk with a friend and get in a much-needed visit.

RELATED: 19 Best Podcasts Perfect for Seniors, Baby Boomers, and the Older Generation

The walk or hike doesn’t have to be fast or long – just being outside and getting some exercise in the fresh air and sunshine is the goal.

Activity #2: Swimming and Water Aerobics

If you love the water, this would be a great choice. Water activities are not only refreshing, but excellent for everyone, especially those who might have joint or muscle problems.

Performing simple exercises, walking around the inside perimeter of the pool, or swimming are excellent ways to get in a little physical activity.

Don’t have a pool? No need to worry – the Decatur Family YMCA offers a variety of water activities for seniors.

  • Open swim
  • Water walking                    
  • Lap swim
  • Aquatic fitness classes
  • Senior swim lessons

Activity #3: Gardening and Yard Work

Retirement is a great time to plant a garden or spruce up your flowerbeds. Preparing the soil, planting, weeding and watering are super ways to sneak in physical activity on a daily basis.

Not only are you getting in a little exercise, but you are also enhancing the look of your yard and producing fresh vegetables to enjoy and share with family and friends.

RELATED: Top 5 Tips for Beginner Gardeners in Illinois

Activity #4: Golfing

Golfing is a great way to stay active. Schedule a friendly golf game once-a-week with friends and visit and laugh your way around 9 holes – or maybe 18 holes if you’re feeling spunky!

A leisurely game of golf is not only good exercise; it is good for the soul. Sunshine, fresh air, friends, and a little friendly competition – you just can’t beat it. Decatur has several golf courses to choose from. Pick your favorite and tee off!

Activity #5: Yoga and Exercise Classes

Participating in an organized exercise class such as yoga or Zumba can be very rewarding.

If it’s something you haven’t ever done before, don’t be afraid. These types of classes offer modified exercises so everyone can participate at their own level. You might be surprised at how quickly you gain muscle strength when performing these exercises on a regular basis.

A great health and fitness program designed for senior citizens age 65+ is the SilverSneakers Fitness Program. This program is accepted at the following Decatur, IL gyms:

  • Decatur Family YMCA
  • Decatur Indoor Sports Center (DISC)
  • Snap Fitness in Forsyth
  • Your Time Fitness 24/7 in Clinton
  • Curves in Monticello
  • The Fitness Center in Monticello
  • Christian County YMCA in Taylorville

Membership is included in many Medicare Advantage Plans.

RELATED: SilverSneakers’ Free Fitness Program for Decatur, IL Seniors

Activity #7: Volunteer

Being a volunteer is a great way to stay active within the community.

There are many places that would love to have you help with their activities. You can start by checking out local hospitals, schools, and humane societies.

Decatur has tons of Community Service Opportunities just waiting for a helping hand.

Learn more: 10 Great Organizations to Volunteer at in Decatur, Illinois

Activity #8: Take or Teach a Class

Have you always wanted to learn to paint? Maybe becoming a beekeeper has always been in the back of your mind, or even learning which pesticides are the best to use for your garden or landscape. Take this time to learn something new.

Do you have a special talent? If so, set up a class so you can share your expertise with others. You can do this on a volunteer basis or even charge a small fee to cover your expenses.

Activity #9: Explore Your Hobbies

The things you’ve always enjoyed doing but haven’t had time for – well, guess what? You have time for them now!

Pick one or two things and go for it. Crafting, gardening, hiking, sewing, writing… whatever your interests are, take the time to do it.

6 Mental Activities to Keep You Active in Retirement

Keeping your mind active is just as important as keeping your body active. Here are some fun ways to give your mind a workout.

Activity #1: Play Games

Card games, dice games, board games… any type of games that will get those cognitive wheels turning are great. Playing games with family and neighbors is always a fun way to spend the afternoon.

Try games like Farkel, Spades, Trivial Pursuit, 49, or Scrabble to get your mind flowing. You might also look around your area for organized game groups such as Bridge clubs, Bunko groups, or pick your favorite game and start your own group.

Set up a schedule, rotate hosts or hostesses, add in a little food and drink, and there you have it – a wonderful way to enjoy some company and get a little competition in on the side.

Activity #2: Reading

Reading is a great way to keep your mind working. Dive into that novel that’s been sitting beside your bed for years and search through those magazines that are piled up on your coffee table. Take weekly visits to your local library and read, read, read.

Activity #3: Work on Puzzles

Set up a card table and lay out a puzzle. You might be surprised at how often you will stop by just to put in a piece or two.

It is a wonderful way to pass the time, and it keeps your mind active. Working on a puzzle with your partner, grandkids, or friends can spur on some pretty awesome conversations, too.

Activity #4: Listen to a Podcast

There are an unlimited number of podcasts available for free. Whatever you are interested in, it’s available in podcast form.

From motivational content, to devotionals, mysteries, sports, medical, business, family, and on and on and on. If you haven’t ever listened to a podcast, it’s time you tried it out.

RELATED: 19 Best Podcasts Perfect for Seniors, Baby Boomers, and the Older Generation

Activity #5: Listen to Ted Talks

There are literally thousands of Ted Talks that will pique your curiosity and expand your knowledge on any number of things. These talks are fun and intriguing, and quite frankly they are addicting.

Search through the vast number of videos and start watching today.

Activity #6: Write

You have had a lifetime of experiences. Take this time to write them down. You don’t have to write a book, but you could.

Think about how awesome it would be to read your grandparents’ experiences through their eyes. Your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren would love to read your memories in your own words written in a perspective that only you can give.

You might also consider writing letters to family or friends. It’s a lost art, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still fun to receive one in the mail. Write down family or favorite recipes to pass on. Everyone for generations will love you for that. It doesn’t matter what you write, just write!

Stay Active in Retirement!

Staying active both physically and mentally during retirement is important – important enough that you need to make every effort to do it.

Exercise, in whatever form you choose, helps to improve your cognitive ability, physical strength, and your social interactions. It also helps prevent problems such as depressions, chronic conditions and loss of memory.

Staying as active as possible is not only important for you, but for your whole family!

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