We all know that keeping up with exercise is important to stay healthy. But, it’s also true that regular exercise becomes less common in older age groups. According to American Family Physician, 75% of older Americans are insufficiently active.
Despite this bleak statistic, it’s possible to stay active and retire well as you get older. In fact, exercise and old age should really go together, and there are numerous benefits you can gain by staying active in old age.
Exercise Reduces Health Risks
The main reason exercise and old age should go together is because of the myriad of health benefits older adults realize with regular exercise. According to a 2018 study in BioMed Research International, exercise is a protective factor from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, strokes, and certain types of cancer. Furthermore, regular exercise correlates with more positive mental health.
You don’t need to take on a serious exercise regimen as you age that overly stresses your muscles and joints. But you should exercise daily, even if it’s something as simple as getting 10,000 steps and elevating your heart rate slightly throughout the day. Working on your flexibility is also important to help you stay limber.
Exercise Keeps You Social
Another benefit of taking up regular exercise as you age relates to social benefits.
If you take up a team sport or group activity like walking or running, you interact with more people in your community. You can even join older-adult workout groups or classes to connect with other people who are in a similar life stage.
This is especially important if you’re entering retirement alone and don’t see other friends or family too often. Having a social group to belong to is enjoyable, and if your group encourages you to keep up with exercising, it’s even better.
Exercise Saves Money
Part of successfully retiring requires having enough money in your nest egg to stop working and live comfortably. And, on that front, exercise can have an incredibly positive impact on your finances in old age.
For starters, since being healthier reduces the likelihood of various diseases, meaning you should spend less on healthcare. Additionally, exercise provides an outlet for a productive hobby that’s also relatively cheap. Many community centers offer free or cheap workout classes for seniors. Similarly, walking and running groups are often free to join. When you compare this cost to potentially more expensive hobbies, it’s clear that exercise is beneficial for both your health and your savings account.
Exercise Is Fulfilling
A final reason exercise and old age should go together is because exercise helps you work towards a goal in retirement.
One risk of retiring is that you don’t know what to do with all of your new free time. But, if you subsist on the sofa watching endless reruns and don’t take up any new hobbies, your retirement years aren’t going to be happy ones.
Exercise provides the perfect outlet for goal setting and fulfillment; you can set challenges for yourself and take pride when you work and achieve them. Again, you don’t have to take on strenuous workout plans that tax your body. But, you should feel a sense of accomplishment after setting a personal fitness goal, working on it for weeks, and then making it a reality. Even if it’s something as simple as running a 2-mile track slightly faster, or becoming more flexible at a certain yoga pose, exercise goals help you feel motivated and strong during older age.
Just remember that consistency is key. As long as exercise is a common theme throughout your life, you can enjoy old age to the fullest.