Staying fit is critical for people of all ages, but it gets even more critical as you get older and reach retirement. It reduces the risk of several chronic health conditions, including cardiac conditions, type 2 cancer, and certain cancers. Moreover, it improves your mental health and emotional well-being. Lastly, it benefits your wallet in ways you don’t even realize. In a nutshell, staying active in retirement can significantly improve your quality of life.
In this post, we look at a few reasons that explain the importance of staying fit in retirement.
Gives You More Clarity of Thoughts
Staying fit keeps your muscles strong and healthy. But did you know that it can also help improve brain function? Although the brain is not a true muscle like the ones you find in other parts of the body, it is still an area of your body that improves its function as you work out.
Regular exercise reduces anxiety and stress. Moreover, it improves the sleep cycle. Together, staying fit enhances your mood, which in turn improves your overall well-being.
You Spend Less on Medical Care
Here is another reason why staying fit in retirement is critical. As mentioned earlier, staying fit can benefit your wallet. Here is how it happens.
Health care is one of the largest expenses in retirement. An average retiree American household spends $6,800 annually on health care. By staying fit, you can save on this cost. After all, when you stay fit, you can save a lot of money and time that you would otherwise spend at the hospital and doctor’s office.
You Save on Insurance
Another benefit that staying fit in retirement can bring, especially to the older adults, is that they save money on insurance. When you are not overweight and do not have any chronic health conditions, the insurance company will charge lesser premiums than the elderly who are overweight and have several medical conditions.
You Feel Happier
Staying fit at all ages brings a fantastic advantage; it boosts your mood. The benefit does not reduce as you age. Rather, older adults can continue to feel happier as they put in the effort to stay fit in retirement.
With physical activity, the brain releases hormones and chemicals that make you less anxious. As a result, you feel more relaxed, which improves your mood and overall well-being. This amazing connection between staying fit and mood is more significant for older adults because they are more prone to mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety.
You Experience Lesser Loss of Muscle and Bone Mass
Common age-related health concern is loss of muscle mass, a condition known as sarcopenia. After the age of 30, the muscle mass typically reduces between 3-8% every decade. However, the rate significantly increases as you reach 60. While it is a natural process that you cannot stop, you can surely slow it down. With regular exercise, especially strength training, you can slow down muscle mass loss and maintain a healthy weight and muscles to support your bones and joints.
Another common age-related concern is the loss of bone mass. The condition is more profound among women following menopause as there is a significant change in the hormonal levels in a female body. Again, strength training can save from undesirable effects of loss of bone mass. By keeping your muscles and bones strong, regular exercise can help you stay fit and active for longer.
You Can Maintain a Healthier Weight More Easily
Another undesirable effect of aging is the slowing down of metabolism. As you age, your body burns calories more slowly. As a result, there is an increased risk of gaining weight. But if you are up for staying fit in retirement, you can change the situation. Regular exercise keeps your metabolism in great shape, so your body can burn calories more efficiently. As a result, it is easier for you to maintain weight. An added advantage of being closer to your ideal weight is less pressure on your spine and other joints, which means a relatively pain-free aging process and improved quality of life.
You Stay Independent
One of the most unwelcomed aspects of aging is loss of independence. When you have weaker muscles that cannot support your body or develop chronic health conditions such as arthritis, dependence on other adults is the only outcome. Moreover, if you choose to live without assistance, there is a significantly higher risk of falls and associated injuries. Remember that falls are one of the leading causes of accidental deaths among the older population.
And while loss of independence is a physical challenge, it is an emotional challenge as well. However, you can change the situation by staying fit. Certain exercises, including techniques of tai chi, can allow you to stay independent for longer. Moreover, they can also reduce your risk of falls and associated injuries.
You Live Longer
Regular exercise allows you to stay fit and healthy. It may not make you immortal, but it can surely allow you to live a longer and better life. According to research, regular exercise for 30 minutes every day on most days of the week may potentially increase your life by five years. Moreover, staying fit can also significantly reduce your premature death risk (cardiac arrest, diabetes, and smoking. So by staying fit in retirement, you can enjoy an independent life for longer.
Remember, staying fit does not always require you to hit the gym or lift weights. There are several easier and more manageable ways of staying fit for people of all ages, including the elderly. But regardless of your age and the ways you use to stay fit, you can enjoy endless benefits throughout your life.