Active Retirement

Active Retirement is key to Senior Healthcare

Senior Healthcare research suggests that active retirement may afford older people a better overall health outlook. They are less likely to suffer memory loss, or have to go into a nursing home.  Physical activity is one of the most important things that you can do to improve your health for the rest of your life.

Would you like to enjoy a healthier active lifestyle?  Wouldn't you be better motivated to pursue retirement hobbies if you had increased energy, strength, and endurance?  And wouldn't you enjoy retirement travel more?  And enjoy better Senior Sex!

What if you could slow down, even reverse the ageing process?  Imagine being ‘younger’ next year, younger than you were ten years ago.  With more muscle strength than you had when you were fifty?  How about managing your weight without dieting, reducing stress without pills, lowering blood pressure, strengthening bones, and having more flexible joints?

And when I tell you can enjoy senior healthcare for very little monetary cost, wouldn't you want to hear more about activities to maintain health?

You may be wondering if I have I found the elixir of life, or if you need to drink some magic potion to enjoy those benefits.  Let me tell you about my experience.

Active Retirement Hill Walking

In July 2000, when I was age 53, I read an article in a local Irish newspaper about the Lee Valley Walking Group. I was aware that Hill walking or hiking was a popular pastime for the over fifties, and I wondered if it was for me.  I wasn't very fit, a ‘little bit’ overweight, and the most strenuous walking I was accustomed to was on the golf course.  I had contemporaries who suggested that hilly golf courses were not suitable for the over fifties!

So I made a tentative phone call to Catherine Ketch, founder and guide of the Lee Valley Walking Group.  I explained to her that I was 53, in good health, yet unfit, and had never scaled a hill higher than about 100 meters.  And my Golden Retriever was putting on weight from lack of exercise!

Catherine suggested I join her on an ‘easy’ trek up Mullachanish (summit of the deer), 649m high, near the village of Ballyvourney in West Cork.   The following month we climber Mount Brandon, at 952 meters, one of Ireland’s highest mountains.  I was hooked!  I made a promise to myself that I would climb the highest mountains in Ireland and Britain. Ireland’s Corrán Tuathail 1038m,  Scotland’s Ben Nevis 1344m, Wales Snowdon 1085m, and England’s Scafell Pike 978m.  And I secretly held the audacious goal of climbing the world’s highest free standing mountain, Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro 5895m.

The joys of treks  

Hill walking combines mindfulness and socializing in interesting ways.  There are moments when you experience the ‘power of now’ as you are absorbed by your own thoughts, and by the stillness and beauty of the environment.  And the next moment you are laughing and chatting amiably with your companions.

Hill walking takes you to remote beautiful places-away from the madding crowd- and you will gain a perspective on nature that can never be experienced from a distance, or whilst speeding along in a car.  The variety of the terrain will astound, and challenge you.   At various times you are walking on soggy black peat, jumping over streams, s up walls of slippery peat, running across oozing mud, treading gingerly on gravelly paths, unstable shale, broken branches, and brushing through heather.  Adding/removing layers as you alternate between sweating in glorious sunshine, or bracing yourself against wild winds and numbing cold.  And it’s all such fun!

I've outlined some of the social and health benefits of hill walking as a component of active retirement, but maybe you would be more motivated to exercise by an alternative scenario?

How about having to take a cocktail of drugs, with unpleasant side effects, in your fifties, pills for blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes?  How about having a stent inserted into your clogged up arteries, or worse still bypass surgery?  You may still require them anyway, but you can delay the need for them.  And what will you do to counteract a reduced interest in socializing and making new friends as you age, which could result in loneliness and depression?

The Third Age can be a time for self-fulfillment, freedom and purposeful engagement for active older people. So enjoy active retirement, come alive, contact a hill walking club, the hills are out there, waiting for you.

And don’t make the excuse that you have aches and pains that make exercise difficult.  There are effective ways of managing your symptoms.  You don’t have to live with pain.

A word of caution!  I haven’t found the fountain of youth, the elixir of life...and I’m not peddling snake oil, so let’s add a bit of realism to my sunny positive scenario regarding Senior Healthcare and Healthy Ageing.  Life has its disappointments.  You can do everything right and you may still ‘ski into a tree.’  There is randomness to life’s events.  

Active Retirement via exercise for seniors, including, Hillwalking can get you back on your feet after a health setback

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Do you benefit from active retirement?  Tell us what you do to stay healthy and young at heart.

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