True or False: The wonderful part about retirement is that you’re allowed to sit down and eat cake.
Think about it, you’ve worked hard your whole life, you’ve looked after others, looked after yourself, at least in the basic sense. Now that you don’t have to get up early and drive to work, where’s the harm in being glued to the couch for a day if you want to be? The last time you were able to do that was probably as a teenager, and then your parents probably wouldn’t have let you sit still for as long as you wanted to.
Well, here’s the thing, sitting on the couch all day is only fun if you’ve chosen to do it, meaning you are capable of choosing to do something else, should you wish to.
And that’s where it gets tricky. If you spend many days sitting on the couch, pretty soon it’ll be all you’re able to do. And that’s when it stops being fun.
Research shows that the majority of retirees prefer to be able to live in their own homes for as long as possible, rather than moving to a care home. And the only way to maintain that level of independence is to continue to challenge the body and mind so that they don’t atrophy.
Experts give similar advice to anyone who wants to maintain a good level of health and fitness:
- Find something that you enjoy doing, and do it every day.
- Find a friend or group who will help motivate you on the days when the couch wants to play kidnapper
- Take the chance to learn something new. Exercising doesn’t mean you’re signing up for the same thing every day for the rest of your life. Change it up a bit. Gardening, dancing, walking, swimming…. the list is only as short as your imagination.
- If your activity has started to bore you, exchange it for another, but keep moving.
The benefits of staying active include feeling happier, fewer aches and pains, better sleep, all of which will contribute to better balance and lower fall risk. And, you can still enjoy sitting down and enjoying that cake. After all, you’ve certainly earned it.