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AARP: 6 Tips for Staying Active in Retirement

By Jerry Shaw   |   Tuesday, 20 Dec 2016 09:42 AM

Retirement is a pleasant time to relax and enjoy a well-deserved rest. Unfortunately, for some seniors, boredom can set in, which makes staying active an important part in this new phase of life, AARP explains.

The retirement years provide time to explore new interests or endeavors. Trying out different ventures or hobbies helps the body and the mind contribute to a long, healthy life. Changes in activity don’t have to be difficult; they can be exciting and rewarding.

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Here are six tips for staying active in retirement from AARP:

1. Volunteering — Spending time with charity work or helping others is often like having a job you love to do while staying active. Many volunteer activities are usually available in your own community. AARP reports on Lynn Podoll, a retired Lutheran pastor, and his wife, Karla, a retired teacher, who decided to open a foster care facility to help needy children find permanent homes. They also help other retirees who pitch in to improve the children’s environments.

2. Part-time jobs — Seniors can expand on the skills they’ve already developed or try something they’ve always wanted to do. Part-time or substitute teaching often works out. Many schools need teachers for different subjects. Barbara Parker teaches other retirees about the plays of William Shakespeare two hours a week at the NYU School of Professional Studies in Manhattan.

3. Regular physical activity — Riding a bicycle regularly or just brisk walking not only improves heart health, but it also decreases unhealthy cravings, AARP notes. A study at the University of Exeter in the U.K. found that brisk 15-minute walks reduced chocolate intake by nearly half for people who loved chocolate.

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4. Aerobics — Working out, from walking to swimming, or moderate weight-lifting for an hour just a couple of times a week strengthens the heart and lungs. These types of exercises also improve memory, according to Teresa Liu-Ambrose, director of the Aging, Mobility and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Her research revealed these activities enhance recall and remembering where people put things, such as keys or items in the kitchen.

5. Yoga or tai-chi — These exercises have become popular among seniors because they help improve balance, which can be lost as people age. Yoga also improves mental flexibility and concentration by keeping the mind focused and avoiding distractions, according to a study at Wayne State University in Detroit.

6. Avoiding injury — Simple exercises prevent or relieve pain. Seniors may experience lower back pain or strain when trying something new. Side plank exercises strengthen core back muscles, AARP reports. Lying on one side while stacking the feet, prop up on one arm, lift your hip and keep the back straight. Hold the position for 30 seconds to two minutes on each side.

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Retirement is a pleasant time to relax and enjoy a well-deserved rest. Unfortunately, for some seniors, boredom can set in, which makes staying active an important part in this new phase of life.
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