Retirement and Exercise

Column by Kent Pegg

If you are one of those who have decided that now is the time to begin a new phase of your life by retiring, more hours have suddenly become available for other activities. And now is the time to reserve some of those hours to take care of your health through a program of regular exercise.

If you can allot a few hours per week of the extra time you have available to exercise at the onset of your retirement, it will become a regular part of your new life. It’ll be much easier to maintain this regular pattern than it will be to add it to your life months down the road after a new life pattern has been established.

Everyone knows there are major health benefits associated with exercise. Increased strength, improved weight management, greater bone density, better cardiovascular health, and reduced risk of injury and disease are all known positives. And there are many other benefits too numerous to mention.

Exercise provides many other positives as well. With more time on your hands, new retirees will generally have reduced social interaction. No longer are you conversing with coworkers throughout the day, attending meetings, and working closely with fellow employees.

Your time at the gym can provide you with an interaction with others who are participating in the same type of activity you are. It can also give you increased mental and emotional support at a time when your world is changing. You’ll feel good about what you’re accomplishing and improve your self-image.

For decades now, you’ve kept your mind fit and on top of its game to excel in your occupation. At the same time, you’ve been taking care of your bank and retirement accounts to get you to this place in your life.

Hopefully you’ve been taking care of your body as well and your exercise routine as a retiree will be an extension of your previous workout program. If you have been participating in regular weight training, cardiovascular exercise, and flexibility training, keep it up and add to it.

Try adding an extra day or two to your weekly routine and increase the duration of your exercise sessions. In addition, you may find that you have more energy to devote to exercise and can increase the intensity of your workouts.

If you’re new to exercise, take some time to get familiar with the gym setting. While the machines and weights may seem daunting at first, they’re really quite easy to use and it will only take a couple of weeks to become comfortable with the equipment.

Start with light weights and low intensity cardio workouts and progress gradually. If you need help getting started or have physical or health challenges, consult with a fitness professional to make sure your program is safe and successful.

For those of you who have retired, congratulations. You’ve worked hard but you’ve still got some work to do; only now it’s on your body.

As you move through your retirement, it will be your level of health and fitness that determines your happiness. All your hard work to get to retirement will be wasted if the only activity you can endure is watching television and leading a sedentary lifestyle.

But, if you stay strong and active, the pleasures of the world are open to you. Travel, play and have fun. Be free and explore what your new life has to offer.

Congratulations, retirees! And enjoy a long life of health and happiness.

To help you get started on your retirement exercise program, I’d like to make you a special offer. For new retirees who are not Fitness Center members, I’ll provide you with a free 30-day membership to the Los Alamos Fitness Center. Hopefully this will get you off to a good start and help you establish exercise as a part of your retired life. Call me at 662-5232 or stop by to set up your membership.

Kent Pegg is a certified personal trainer and the owner of the Los Alamos Fitness Center. If you have any questions about the information in this column, contact him at 662-5232.

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