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Health and Wellness in Retirement
- Staying mentally and physically active in retirement is associated with lower rates of chronic diseases and cognitive decline.
- Living in Tacoma, WA, makes it easy to stay mentally and physically active with fun events like hiking, biking, golf, and arts and cultural attractions.
- The key to health and wellness in retirement is finding activities you genuinely enjoy and integrating them into your daily life.
The way we feel and care for ourselves impacts every aspect of our life. What we eat, how we move our bodies, and the state of our mental health all contribute to how much we can do and how good we feel.
As we age, these effects become even more pronounced.
If you want to live a long, healthy, happy life, focusing on health and wellness is critical.
The research backs this up. Multiple studies have shown that physical activity is a protective factor for many diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and some types of cancer. Additionally, scientists have found that older adults who stay active have lower rates of anxiety, depression, and cognitive decline.
Staying Active in Retirement
We’ve all heard the saying, “Move it or lose it.” While it’s a little more direct than we’d like, it does apply to physical ability in older adults.
Either we stay active, or it can become difficult to do the things we love.
As we age, our muscles atrophy, slowly becoming older and weaker. While some age-related physical decline is normal, physical activity is essential to maintain strength, mobility, flexibility, and endurance. In other words, all of the things that keep us healthy and independent as we get older.
Fortunately, there are dozens of ways to keep moving your body and doing what you love.
Here are a few great options for older adults at any age:
- Strength training. Strength training is a customizable exercise you can do almost anywhere. While some strength training workouts use resistance bands or exercise machines, others focus on moving your body weight. These are a great add-on to the end of a walk or bike ride and can help prevent bone density loss and improve balance.
- Aerobics. Studies have shown that even 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day will increase the body’s ability to disperse oxygen and nutrients. Great examples of aerobic activity include walking, jogging, and riding a stationary bike. Older adults who aren’t ready to work out in one 30-minute chunk can break it into a more manageable 10-minute workout three times a day.
- Stretching. Stretching is one of the best ways to keep muscles loose and limber and maintain mobility. Yoga is a great way to incorporate stretching into your day. Older adults can also practice stationary stretches after waking up or before a walk to build muscle strength.
In addition to the options listed above, there are numerous other ways to stay active in Tacoma. Gardening, hiking, swimming, and group exercise classes are all great options that you can do on your own or with friends.
If you live in a Life Plan Community, your facility may offer courses, outings, and events built around these healthful activities.
No matter how you choose to stay active, making it as enjoyable as possible is essential. Select an activity you find fun and accessible, and ask your partner or a few good friends to join you. The more you enjoy physical activity, the more you’ll continue to integrate it into your life during retirement.
Staying Sharp in Retirement
Caring for your body is critical, but so is caring for your mind! As we age, cognitive processing capabilities decline slightly year after year.
Age-related declines include overall delayed processing, difficulty sustaining attention or multitasking, trouble finding words, and problems with memory and recall.
Fortunately, you can take proactive steps to delay or slow age-related declines. Here are a few top suggestions:
If you’re a smoker, you should consider quitting. Research has found that older adults who smoke are at increased risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and cognitive decline. If you need help quitting, contact your doctor or call the National Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
Because exercise promotes oxygenation and growth in the brain and helps the brain modulate its immune responses, staying active is one of the best ways to stay sharp in retirement.
Fortunately, retirees living in the Tacoma area have many great ways to get moving. Spring and summer activities include hiking, biking, canoeing or kayaking, or playing sports, while the off-season is perfect for group fitness classes and indoor exercise.
If you’re reluctant to get active again, you might just need a bit of extra motivation, and a celebration of health could be just the thing. June is Men’s Health Month, which seeks to bring awareness to preventable health conditions for men and their family members.
If you’re already a resident of a Life Plan Community, research the unique wellness opportunities at your facility.
Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the most important things you can do for your brain.
With this in mind, plan meals around fruits and vegetables, and complement them with other brain-boosting foods, like whole grains, healthy fats, and lean meat.
If you want to stay sharp during retirement, never stop learning. Research has shown that learning new skills improves thinking ability and boosts memory.
If you already live in a Life Plan Community in the Tacoma area, you likely have access to classes, excursions, outings, and events designed to encourage lifelong learning. Find a few that appeal to you and integrate them into your monthly schedule.
In addition to being fun, learning protects your brain during the golden years.
Grow Your Community
Isolation is terrible for mental health. Unfortunately, it’s also common in older adults. According to a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), one-fourth of older adults are “socially isolated.”
When it occurs, social isolation is associated with a 50% increased risk of dementia and other severe conditions.
As far as isolation is concerned, residents of Life Plan Communities have a leg up. Living in a community provides easy access to social connections, outings, and events that help keep isolation and loneliness at bay.
Regardless of where you live, investing in community connections and social relationships is one of the best ways to prevent cognitive decline during retirement.
Stress is bad for the brain at any age. Unfortunately, stress is also associated with retirement. Moving and ending a lifelong career can be significant life events, and managing the emotions those events may create is important.
In older adults, stress tends to manifest in physical symptoms. Headaches, insomnia, fatigue, changes in appetite or mood, chest pain, and gastrointestinal upset can all be signs of stress.
To combat stress, maintain a healthy lifestyle. Getting enough sleep, limiting screen time, staying active, and eating a nutritious diet are all essential. If your anxiety is severe or doesn’t get better, consider joining a support group or seeking professional help from a therapist who works with older adults.
While we can’t prevent aging, we can care for our bodies and minds throughout the process, so we experience as little stress and worry as possible.
Staying Active and Sharp in Tacoma
If you’re lucky enough to live in the Tacoma area, you know the region is rich with outdoor attractions, exciting social and cultural events, and much more.
Here are just a few of the things we recommend exploring in and around Tacoma:
Arts, Music, and Cultural Events
Tacoma is home to the Tacoma Arts Live Education Program, one of Washington’s largest and oldest arts education programs. The program offers dozens of options for remote and in-person learning, as well as programs tailored specifically to seniors.
If you’re more of a music buff, check out Symphony Tacoma, which has been part of the community for more than 75 years and hosts a variety of seasonal galas and other events.
To experience the local culture, we recommend checking out one of Tacoma’s many museums, enjoying a live show at The Broadway Center for the Performing Arts, or taking a tour of one of the area’s many attractions, like the Museum of Glass.
These activities are all excellent things to do with friends and family and can become great destinations for a day or evening out.
Getting outdoors is a great way to see and experience everything Tacoma has to offer. Take a walk at the Tacoma Nature Center, visit Mount Rainier National Park, enjoy the salt air of Point Defiance Park on the banks of Puget Sound.
If you’re looking for a low-intensity way to spend the day with friends, consider enjoying a round of golf or a game of tennis at one of the area’s public courses or courts.
Challenge Your Brain
Invest in your mind the same way you invest in your body. Grab a Book Club Kit from the Tacoma Public Library and start a reading group with friends or take a continuing education class at UW Tacoma.
Sign up for a craft course within your community or step outside your comfort zone and experiment with Virtual Reality (VR) gaming at Tacoma’s Digital Reality Gaming.
How you challenge your brain doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you do. Reading, learning a new hobby, or taking a class are all great ways to keep your mind healthy, strong, and sharp as you age.
We know that staying healthy and sharp in retirement is the key to living a long, fulfilling life. Here at eliseo, our mission is to promote senior health and wellness and help older adults live active, engaging, exciting lives.
Offering a complete catalog of fun things to do in Tacoma, both on and off of our campus, we’re proud to support people like you in your mission to make the most out of retirement.
Ready to learn more about eliseo and our mission? Check out our Life Plan Community to see if it’s the right fit for you. Feel free to contact a team member by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 253.319.3947.