Planning for a Physically Fit Retirement

by Megan

When I started working at Group Health Cooperative of Eau Claire, I was in my early twenties (I’m not divulging all my secrets). One piece of advice that I was getting from multiple people was to start contributing to a retirement fund. I was told that even if it was a small amount, putting away something now would give that money more time to grow.

I’m in my late twenties now and I’m glad I took that advice. I don’t have much, but I’ve got something started and it's working for me. Hopefully I can continue to contribute and have some money for when I do eventually retire. Right now it seems like retirement is a long ways off, but when I think back to how these years have flown by I realize in no time I’ll be waking up at 5:00 a.m., putting on the decaf coffee and getting ready for my morning walk.

Yes, I’ve already envisioned myself as a retiree. In my scenario though, I have accumulated a ton of wealth, I have enough to get by comfortably and have acquired multiple track suits. Part of being retired means you get to wear comfortable clothes, right? Sorry, I’m getting off track again.

My point - and I do have one - is that we get all this advice on planning financially for the future but what about planning physically? Strength training, cardio, stretching and balance exercises are all important if you are planning on enjoying your golden years!

I realize that there are some health concerns that can’t be prevented but being able to chase pets or grandkids, walk around without a constant fear of falling and continuing to do household chores all require a strong, active body.I think many people have the cardio down; they walk daily or they bike frequently. That’s great - keep doing that! But let me ask you another question: do you do any form of resistance training? If not, could you start?

Using your own body weight and a little bit of space you could get it done before breakfast! Can you do pushups? If those are too difficult, start with wall pushups (just like it sounds, pushups standing against the wall).

Try some squats by getting up from your chair and back down, repeat 10 times. Easy, right? For more ideas, visit this website.

Next, have you stretched lately? If not, try 5 minutes of light stretching before bed. It feels great, I promise. Stetching takes little to no time and your body will thank you!

And the last thing I want you to consider adding to your life is balance training. Quick experiment: stand up and give yourself a little space. Raise your right foot off the ground (6-8 inches) and just balance. Is it easy? Try straightening your arms above your head. Still easy? Close your eyes. For more exercises read this article from WebMD.

Have fun preparing physically for retirement!


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