It’s easy to overlook the importance of nurturing our mental and physical well-being at any stage of life. When we retire though, it becomes increasingly important. The opportunity to slip into bad habits often becomes more prominent without the routine and purpose of work.
Finding simple ways to exercise both the mind and body can significantly enhance our overall health and happiness in retirement, keeping us sharp, connected and staving off diseases and poor health. Retirement living can be active living after all.
With the new year, and good intentions in mind, here are five tips and exercises for staying mentally and physically active in retirement. And if you are over 55 years but not yet retired, you have no excuses either – all these tips will help you too!
Practise Mindfulness Meditation
Taking a few moments each day to practice mindfulness meditation is not just a valuable practice for the mind. There are physical benefits too, with mindfulness meditation being proven to lower blood pressure, improving sleep, and enhancing general wellbeing.
Initially for five or ten minutes each day, find a quiet space, sit comfortably, and focus on your breath. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment. This practice enhances mental clarity, reduces stress, and fosters a sense of inner peace.
An exercise to try at home: Start with five minutes of mindful breathing, otherwise known as box breathing, and slowly build on this. Inhale deeply for a count of four, hold for four, exhale for four, and then hold for another four. Gradually increase the duration and frequency as you become more comfortable. The optimum duration of mindfulness meditation is twenty minutes per day, twice a day.
Challenge Yourself With Brain Teasers And Puzzles
Re-engage your mind with puzzles, riddles, or brain teasers. Whether it’s Sudoku, crossword puzzles, jigsaws or logic games, these activities stimulate cognitive function, improve memory, and boost problem-solving skills. All of which are increasingly important as we age.
Doing a puzzle exercises the area of the brain that stores memories. A person must remember pieces they’ve seen before when putting a puzzle together. Strengthening and exercising short-term memory is especially important for older adults.
Puzzles require patience and concentration, which can help improve focus and attention span. They also require analytical thinking, as you must figure out how the pieces fit together. Games help to improve cognitive skills, critical thinking, and logical reasoning.
Try it at home – Dedicate a few minutes each day to solve a puzzle or riddle. You could do this as a social activity if you desire, joining a club or linking up with friends to provide another host of social benefits. The communal lounges at our retirement living developments are an ideal place to gather, and some also offer a dedicated games room. Perfect for puzzlers! Challenge yourself with increasingly complex tasks to keep your brain active. You can download brain training apps which will give you a programme of progressively demanding tasks.
Push Your Boundaries With Regular Physical Exercise
Physical activity is crucial for both physical fitness and mental health. Exercise releases endorphins, reducing stress and improving mood. It also enhances cognitive function by increasing blood flow to the brain.
How often and vigorously should older people exercise?
As a rule of thumb if you aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily this will give you all mental and physical advantages. It can include brisk walks, jogging, yoga, or any activity that gets your heart pumping and muscles moving.
The NHS is even more specific with its advice for older adults around exercise. On top of being physical active every day, it recommends taking part in activities that will increase balance, strength, and flexibility, including lifting weights if it is within your ability. The NHS also suggests 150 minutes of ‘moderate intensity activity’ such as water aerobics, walking for health or riding a bike. Alternatively, you can do 75 minutes of ‘vigorous intensity activity’ – running, swimming, bike riding or aerobics – per week.
Some of our retirement living developments offer a dedicated fitness suite, and all are located near local sports and fitness amenities.
Burghley Retirement Living also allows you the chance to bring your pet with you, and if you opt to do this, then a dog walk will double up as getting your steps in for the day. Ask you lodge manager to provide you with popular dog walking routes nearby to your property.
Expand Your Horizons And Learn Something New
Engage in lifelong learning by exploring new skills or hobbies. Learning stimulates brain activity, fosters creativity, and boosts self-confidence.
Ideas to try at home – Pick up a new language, try your hand at a musical instrument, harness your painting skills, start cooking, or have a go at coding. Dedicate regular time to practice and develop your newfound skill. You can learn in an online course or enrol at your local night school or college which should have a range of affordable options.
Make Social Interaction A Priority
Human connections are vital for mental well-being and are proven to keep older people happier and healthier. Engage in meaningful conversations, spend time with friends and family, or join clubs or groups with shared interests.
Make it your new year’s resolution to plan regular social activities, whether it’s a coffee date with a friend, a book club meeting, or volunteering for a cause you’re passionate about.
If you’re a Burghley Retirement Living owner you can take part in a programme of regular events, clubs, and activities all of which are included in your service fee. Ask your lodge manager for details on what’s coming up.
By incorporating these tips into your daily routine, you’ll not only keep your mind and body active but also cultivate a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle. Remember, the key lies in consistency and finding activities that bring you joy and fulfilment.
Take the first step today towards a more vibrant and balanced life by visiting your nearest Burghley Retirement Living property. Find out more about luxury retirement living in Shipley, Derby, Thornton-Cleveleys, and Brighouse, visit https://burghleyretirement.co.uk/locations/