None of us will age the same way, but we will all get to a certain age and think ‘I wish I was younger’, but what most of us don’t realise is that this isn’t as impossible as we may think. Studies show that staying physically and mentally active can make you feel younger and reverse the symptoms of ageing[i].
Here are 8 tips on how to live an active life after 60.
1. Repeat the mantra “your body is a temple!”
Remember, you reap what you sow, if you take care of your body, your body will take care of you.
A recent university of London study showed that you can gain healthy years from exercising even if you start after 60, because though you may start thinking about retiring or slowing down, your 60s and 70s are when you need to be staying active and keeping fit the most, this is to counteract the effects of slowing metabolism and declining muscle density.
Less than 3% us take regular exercise over the age of 65, you may be hesitant, but it’s never to late to start.
Exercise and activity can help prevent illness and even help to give you more healthy years, weather it’s a simple walk in the park, a bike ride to the shops, choosing the stairs over the lift, or going for a swim, AXA suggests breaking down your journey to a healthier active life into 4 simple steps:
Start with a plan, your body may not be used to the stress that rigorous exercise can cause, so they suggest talking to a doctor of a qualified trainer in order to arrange and exercise plan that will suit you without causing strains or injury.
Keep your resistance, it is important to reserve strength, to do this you must concentrate on working your muscles, they advise to do such activities as: gentle weight training, stair climbing, or even ordinary tasks that some even find a hobby such as gardening.
Take care of your joints; they warn to stay away from exercise that can put pressure on your joints in later life and suggest to switch to swimming or a stationary bike as an alternative.
Flex and stretch they remind you to warm up before and stretch after any strenuous exercise to avoid aches and pains.
2. Stay social!
Its not just good to have friends, its also been proven to prolong life[ii] also exercising with friends yields better results than exercising alone, even laugher is a proven work out[iii]. Social activities are more enjoyable than solo endeavours and combats loneliness. There are plenty of social clubs for over 60s, places where you can meet like-minded people who you could get active with. Meeting people and attending events can alleviate depression and help reduce isolation. Often you can find these clubs within your local community, so you’re never to far away from potential friends. If you still find yourself with time on your hands then volunteering can be a good way to make new friends, learn new things, and keep yourself active and engaged and of course you will be helping a good cause.
3. ‘Brain training’
Something people would have laughed at 20 years ago, it is now a very relevant subject. Keeping your brain active is a key part of staying youthful. Whilst doing physical activity is good for your body it needs to be matched by mental exercise, doing crossword puzzles, or Sudoku’s, reading books, there are even electronic games you can play that are designed to ‘train your brain’ mental exercise has also been found to combat dementia and Alzheimer’s[iv]
4. Keep trying new things never say never.
Curiosity killed the cat but it’s healthy for a human. Don’t be afraid to try new things, its how we learn and your never to old to learn. There will always be something new to do, go out and find it. Its important to keep yourself from doing the same mundane tasks, adding excitement into your life to keep yourself engaged is very beneficial. Never been sailing before? Try it! Never been to see the Blackpool tower? Go there. If someone tells you, you can’t go down the steepest slide in the water park, prove them wrong, don’t let anyone (apart from your doctor of course) tell you what you can and can’t do, the world is your oyster, it always has been and it always will be.
5. Eat well.
Napoleon Bonaparte once said “an army marches on its stomach” keep yourself well fed on good food, you’re a 60-year-old army and you’re marching to fitness and good health. It is very easy now to eat well, with a huge variety of food in the supermarkets and an abundance of recipes online there is no excuse anymore. It’s also a good reason to learn more, have fun with new ideas and make cooking a hobby not just a necessity. If you don’t feel up to cooking there are plenty of healthy meal on wheel companies around who will deliver you freshly prepared food ready to go into the microwave or oven at competitive prices.
6. Reap the benefits.
The governments over the years have put a lot in place to support us in later life, free transport, winter fuel allowance, reduced living costs, free insulation and boiler repairs, if there is something you need to do, and you are more than likely entitled to some help doing it. Even some privately owned businesses offer discounts to senior citizens, fish and chip shops, hairdressers, dry cleaners, just to name a few. Use these all to your advantage, take a trip into London, see the sights, get reduced entrance to museums, have a half price portion of chips, enjoy yourself, you have worked all your life and now its time for society to pay you back.
7. Stay Positivity, be a glass half full kind of person.
Positivity is a quality we should all exhibit, it’s the 1st part of having a happy life, if you start the day with doom and gloom then I shouldn’t have to tell you how the rest of the day will turn out. Always look for that silver lining, make light of bad situations, you will always get nay sayers, just make sure you're saying Yay to each of their Nays!
8. Be happy because as the saying goes… ‘You’re never fully dressed without a smile’.
Last and certainly not least be happy, if you have followed our guide you should be there already, if not, read it again. Happiness is often talked about as this unobtainable myth that is impossible to find for love nor money, but in reality its not, happiness is inside all of us, we just need to channel it out. Happiness is key to keeping the mind and body healthy[v]
Thank you for reading our 8 simple tips to living an active life after 60! Share it with your friends and family, and show people that retirement doesn’t have to be about sitting around watching day time telly with your sugary tea, it’s about doing, seeing, feeling and experience experiencing. It’s about making sure that you are getting the best out of your self that you can… Because growing older doesn’t mean you have to live older!