The Truth About Fitness in Retirement

Now that you’ve gotten to retirement, you want to make sure that you’re in good enough condition to enjoy it. Retirement is no longer a time for sitting on your front porch all day, reading the morning paper and watching the world pass by. Retirees are more active than ever, traveling, engaging in energetic leisure activities, going back to college, even opening new businesses and working more than ever.

Make sure that your 60-year-old body is capable of sustaining such activity.

Eat a Proper Diet

Good fitness usually involves two broad areas of concern. First, make sure you eat the right foods. There are plenty of Internet sources that provide the basics of a good diet; if you’re not sure about a website’s legitimacy, consult your doctor or a nutritionist. Generally, worldwide, people eat too many fats, too many sugars, and too many carbohydrates. You don’t have to give these foods up; just consume them in reasonable quantities. Avoid fatty meats as much as possible; stick to lean meats and seafood products, and keep the portions small. A piece of meat that fits into the palm of your hand is all you need; if you eat slowly, your body will gradually register that you are feeling full.

Use healthy cooking oils such as olive oil and coconut oil; real butter is also a good choice for cooking purposes. Vegetable oils can be an unhealthy choice; these are composed of polyunsaturated fats, which can be bad for your body. Likewise, excessive carbohydrates can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, and other health issues. Irish cuisine is a leading offender in this regard; pub meals can consist of a slab of meat accompanied by two portions of potatoes (say, mashed potatoes plus fried potatoes), and the waitress will have the nerve to ask if you would like chips on the side. Lighten up!

Each meal should be accompanied with a serving of green vegetables — whether raw or cooked (steamed is best) — and you should eat a few portions of fresh fruit each day as well. And drink unsweetened drinks — the best is plain water, although unsweetened iced tea has more flavor. Cutting out sweetened sodas can lower your sugar intake considerably. Getting the right nutrition into your body can add years to your life.

Exercise Regularly

Second, stay fit by getting plenty of exercise. Getting into a routine at the gym is always beneficial, but you can strengthen your circulation as well as lung power simply by staying active. If you enjoy the outdoors, you can always find cycling groups; taking a long cycle through the countryside once a week is also a great way to socialize. If you are near a state park, there are usually hiking trails; visit the park’s nature centers to find out more. Or, if you’re up for several days of activity, take a wilderness trek and carry your own gear. A week in the forest, trekking 10-15 miles each day, is a great way to shed pounds, build stamina, and have an exhilarating experience.

Keeping yourself fit in retirement is not difficult, once you develop the right habits. Not only will you add years to your life, you’ll make those years much more enjoyable as well.