Staying active and living a healthy lifestyle is essential at all ages. Maintaining an active lifestyle after retirement is beneficial, both physically and mentally. Working-in daily activity is known to boost moods, increase mental clarity, and improve self-confidence. Since exercising releases endorphins, which is our “feel good” hormone, it is natural for individuals to feel better after participating in physical activity. To keep our minds and bodies sharp, we talked to the Bishop Gadsden Wellness Team about how we can work fitness and wellness into our everyday lives.
Tips on Getting Moving
- Choose your activity based on what you like. Comfort Richardson, Bishop Gadsden’s Wellness Manager, says, “Exercise according to what you like. Walk, swim, stretch, Tai Chi. Whatever it takes to get you moving.”
- Make it a routine. Wellness Assistant, Shannon Jones, tells us, “Pick a routine. Is it going to be every day or three times a week? Which days are you going to commit? Try not to schedule things during your normal workout time, if at all possible.”
- Pick how long you want to work out each time. Shannon says to ask yourself, “Is your workout shorter because you exercise every day? Is it a longer time because you only workout three times a week?” When picking what works best for you, Comfort tells us to keep in mind the activity standard. “To reap the benefits of exercise, 150 minutes a week of moving is ideal and equals 30 minutes a day. That can be broken up into 10-minute intervals throughout the day, but must be at least 10 minutes each time.”
- Listen to your body. Shannon reminds us that we control the intensity and duration of our workouts. “Remember, you can always decrease your workout level, intensity, and duration. Using less weight, fewer repetitions, and less time is a good modification if you are not feeling great. Just show up! That’s 75% of the battle.” To reap the benefits of activity, Kelly Bowling, BG Wellness Trainer, reminds us to breathe. “If possible, breathe in through the nose, filling the lungs, and exhale through the mouth. Squeeze the abdominals to remove all air from the body and always keep abdominals engaged to protect the back and encourage good posture.”
- Don’t be afraid of group exercise. Group exercise may sound scary, but it brings excellent morale and energy to a workout. Comfort says, “Try group exercise! It’s fun, motivating, and educational.”
Focus on Strength, Balance, and Flexibility
Maximize a healthy lifestyle by focusing on strength, balance, and flexibility, which will provide functionality in all areas of our daily lives. Wellness Trainer David Carter provides exercises for increasing functionality in all three of these areas.
For strength, David suggests calf raises. “Lift both heels off the floor as far as is comfortable. The movement should be slow and controlled.” For balance, David suggests a simple grapevine to help. “Start by crossing your right foot over your left. Bring your left foot to join it. Attempt five cross-steps on each side. If necessary, put your fingers against a wall for stability.” Finally, for flexibility, David suggests doing neck rotations to loosen up. “Sit upright with shoulders down. Look straight ahead. Slowly turn your head towards your left shoulder as far as comfortable. Hold for five seconds and return to starting position. Repeat going right. Do three rotations on each side.”
Rest and Recovery
As important as being active is to our bodies, getting proper rest and recovery between each activity is equally as important. To reduce the risk of injury, Wellness Trainer Nathan Calhoun discusses tips on proper recovery after exercising. When it comes to recovery, Nathan says, “The recommended recovery time for exercise depends on the kind of exercise you are participating in, coupled with the intensity at which you exercise.”
Nathan describes that each level of exercise has a different recovery procedure. “For strength and resistance training, such as heavy weights and machines, the National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends 24-48 hours off of training that particular muscle group.”
If your activity is a lower impact, exercise, or cardio-focused, as much recovery time may not be needed. Nathan suggests, “For cardiovascular training, such as the treadmill or Nu-Step, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends 5 days a week for about 30 minutes at a moderate intensity.”
As you can see, this type of exercise requires more active days than rest days to be impactful. The intensity is up to you, which dictates the amount of recovery needed. When it comes to living an active and healthy lifestyle, Nathan says, “Remember to always listen to your body and factor rest and recovery into your exercise routine.”