Staying active and healthy during retirement

No matter your age, retirement is either in the future or right around the corner. Or maybe you’re already living in the here and now of retirement. Whichever scenario is your reality, planning for retirement is a wise thing to do. 

Part of planning for this stage of life is remaining physically active and healthy. Staying physically fit is a lifelong endeavor that should not stop once you retire. Never take for granted the ability to move freely with ease and without pain. As you age, bodily changes happen, but aging dramatically slows down when you stay physically active. You’ll retain better flexibility, mobility, and stability, each important for preventing falls and injuries. 

What is your plan for wellness and staying physically active during your senior years?

Retirement checkup

Annual physicals are important throughout life, but if you’ve neglected to keep these appointments, now’s the time to do so. Before starting a new physical fitness regimen, see your doctor. Tell them you want to stay physically active and want their recommendation for achieving this goal, especially if you have physical limitations inhibiting movement. Working with your doctor, a physical therapist, or an occupational therapist together, these are good starts to begin your journey.

Exercises for retirees with chronic medical conditions

If you are a mobile, healthy retiree with no physical limitations, your ideal exercise plan is wide open. From brisk walking to playing tennis, you likely can enjoy a variety of activities available.

But, having a chronic condition often limits physical activity. Fortunately, there are excellent options, even if your ability to move is limited. Again, your doctor, a physical therapist, or other healthcare providers can suggest activities suitable for your medical condition or mobility issue.  With your doctor’s clearance, safe exercise options may include chair exercises, gentle yoga, tai chi, working with light dumbbells, water aerobics, basic stretching, or using a stationary bicycle.

Even with a physical disability, remaining physically inactive is not recommended. Exercise helps your body release endorphins, energizing your mood, relieves stress and anxiety, boosts self-esteem, improves flexibility and range of motion, and enhances your sense of well-being. 

Ideas for exercising in retirement

Retirement often looks different from your life when you worked. Locating to a different city or state, downsizing your home, or traveling around the country in an RV, may be how your life has changed. Yet, regular exercise should still be a top priority moving forward.

If you need ideas on how to lose weight (if necessary), maintain muscle mass, and remain mobile, check out below:

  • Fitness centers/gyms

Using a fitness center has never been easier – even small towns often have a local workout center. These are especially helpful if you have limited space for a treadmill, stationary bicycle, or workout equipment. They also come in handy when the weather turns cold and snowy or inclement. In addition, many gyms have a senior discount to take advantage of. Wherever you live, check out your options and see what options are available. Check out your local community college if your fitness center lacks a swimming pool.  If you take classes there, they usually charge no fee for students. 

  • Group exercise classes/personal trainer

For retirees who enjoy the company of others, joining a group exercise class can be inspiring and motivating for staying fit. However, a qualified personal trainer at a fitness center is a good option for those who prefer exercising on their own but need guidance to prevent injuries.

  • Home gym

For the more experienced fitness fanatic, there’s nothing like having your gym in the comfort of your home. Available 24 hours a day, year-round, you can make your home gym simple or elaborate. Some basic equipment to have on hand should include resistance bands, dumbbells, an exercise ball, and an exercise mat. You can add a treadmill, elliptical trainer, or stationary cycle for a bigger investment, especially nice during inclement weather. 

  • Take advantage of the great outdoors

Wherever you live during retirement, check out opportunities for exercising outdoors. Fresh air and sunshine are always good for the soul. Most cities have a recreation department that can provide local outdoor activity fun ideas. For instance, taking a brisk walk, jog, or hike on a well-maintained nature trail is a great start for getting you moving. Or check out nearby bike paths to explore. Find an outdoor pool offering outdoor water aerobics or to do laps. Are there outdoor yoga or Tai Chi classes you can be a participant in? If you’re into golf, hit the greens several times a week. Or grow a garden in your backyard or join a community garden and get physical digging in the dirt. Even rock climbing might be just your thing for getting and staying in shape. 


Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy.  Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911. 

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