Keeping active is important at any age and any stage, including when you move into a retirement village. A Swedish study found that following a healthy lifestyle – being sociable, physically active and participating in leisure activities – could add up to five years to women’s lives and six years to men’s. “Encouraging favourable lifestyle behaviours even at advanced ages may enhance life expectancy, probably by reducing morbidity,” concluded the authors. A study by Columbia University, New York, found that engaging in hobbies such as arts and crafts, music and reading could help reduce the effects of stress-related diseases and slow down cognitive decline
Moving into a retirement village shouldn’t mean giving up the activities you enjoy. That is why it is important to make sure you check out the activities on offer before you decide the facility is right for you. It is important to ask what the activities are, what the costs associated with the activities are. It might be a good idea to see if you could go on a village outing before you move in to learn more about the village lifestyle and meet your potential neighbours. If the facility does not offer the activities you enjoy, it is a good idea to check whether you are still close enough to your club or gym that you could easily get there by walking, public transport, private car etc. so that you do not have to give up your hobby.
Many new villages offer a number of different amenities, including gyms, pools, bowling greens, classes etc. If you have moved into a village with these on offer make sure you make the most of them! They are a great opportunity to make new friends and keep you fit and healthy.
If your are currently living in a retirement village check out these tips to get more active:
Exercise on land cramping your style (or your joints)? Water aerobics may be a good alternative, exercising in the water is a great low impact way to keep in shape, perfect for wary bones and joints. Especially if your retirement village has a swimming pool you could take advantage of! There are a myriad of things that can stop you from being active as you grow older (and wiser), the key is being creative. If getting wet isn’t your forte, then Yoga or Tai Chi may be more up your alley, easy on the joints but nurturing for the body and mind. Find out if your facility offers these activities.
Exercising in groups keeps you accountable and is a great way to keep each other motivated. Talk with your neighbours and see what you can get started!
Try Something New
You don’t know whether you’ll like it or not until you try it (well, most of the time). Routine is a positive for many reasons; so if you’re able to work in ‘trying something new’ on a weekly/fortnightly/monthly basis, then you’ll be set. Learning new skills is a great way to keep not only your body, but your mind active.
This may be an obvious way to stay active, but walking is overlooked much of the time. If you find walking boring, then try adding something interesting. Take your dog, the neighbour’s dog, a friend’s dog, or any other dog, for a walk. Take a camera with you to snap those beautiful evening sunsets. Even go window shopping while you walk around the mall. Staying active doesn’t have to be boring if you think outside the box.
Make it Fun
Find something that you enjoy doing and do it regularly. Whether that’s walking, gardening, bowls, creating art/crafts or even volunteering, as long as you’re enjoying what you’re doing, you’ll want to keep doing it.