5 Ways Retirees Can Stay Active at Home


It’s been a very long year. Well, a year and three months, but whose counting?  While we’re all in the same boat, our lived experiences throughout the pandemic have been varied.  We’ve seen frontline heroes work tirelessly to keep us safe and keep our cupboards and fridges stocked.  We’ve connected with family and friends near and far through video calls.  We’ve even found ways to have birthday parades to celebrate our loved ones, even if from afar.  Is it possible that these new norms and unsuspecting outlets have made room for some creativity in the way we maintain our health and happiness? As we bid farewell to spring showers and welcome the much needed sunshine, we know that retirees across Canada will find a great deal of benefit in staying active and being reinvigorated after many long winter months. Staying active during quarantine may seem less than appealing but the benefits, especially for Canadians 55+, are abundant.

The importance of staying active in retirement

Before we delve into how to stay active at home, let’s look at why it’s good to stay fit and active.   Movement is good for the mind, body, and soul. Most importantly (especially these days), its good for your immune system.  Activity promotes healthy circulation, it helps prevent common diseases, and it keeps the body strong and agile. Canadians 55+ are often long standing members of their active adult communities and spend much of their time staying active after retirement. Many have found great social opportunities by participating in active games for Canadians 55+, while others have found fun ways to stay active at home.  Which ever avenue you choose, living a lifestyle that keeps you moving will strengthen your immune function.  This is perhaps the most important investment one can make, especially as retirees focus on protecting themselves from COVID-19.

Before the pandemic, active retirees were able to find ways to stay active all day. Whether they were on a tennis court, golf courses, local gyms, swimming pools, and squash courts, members of the active adult community sure knew how to stay active the whole day. This is why it may feel a little less engaging to find ways to stay fit and be active at home but breaking a sweat in the living room is just as good for the body as anywhere else! There’s no limit to how active adult communities are finding ways to stay active during quarantine.

Let’s explore these 5 ways retirees can stay active at home:

  1. Be actively active. If you were the type to wake up in the morning and head out for your daily exercise, protect that time. Whether you’re a morning or an evening mover, your commitment to being an active retiree can be honoured every single day at the same pre-pandemic time.  You may not have all of the equipment at your fingertips (if you do, that’s great!), so you can replace dumbbells with full water bottles or soup cans and use your own body weight to do sets of light exercises including yoga, Pilates and aerobics.
  2. Step it up. If your house has a flight of stairs, you’re ahead of the game! It might not feel all that appealing to march up and down stairs for half an hour, but if you’re looking for ideas on how to stay active during quarantine you might enjoy something that keeps you passively active. Give this a try:  every time you need a bio-break, use a bathroom on another floor of your home. It may not seem like much, but several bio-breaks a day will have you moving at times that you may have otherwise been seated.  This is easy because you don’t have to schedule anything, you just listen to your body. Before you know it, you’ve figured out how to stay active all day.
  3. Smell the roses. If you’ve never gardened before, ask anyone you know who has and they will attest to the fact that mother nature is a great personal trainer. She’s also helped many active retirees crack the code on how to stay active at home and especially how to stay active during quarantine. Think about all of the bending down and squats you’re doing as you’re planting the seeds or pulling weeds, all of the arm and core strengthening with each pour of heavy soil, and even the number of times your body goes from sit to stand as you move through your garden. The best part is you don’t need to have a big space to stay fit and active all day. In fact, you don’t need a garden at all. Potting some herbs and houseplants will do the trick on a patio or even indoors. Tending to your plants could provide you with a really great way to stay active throughout the day.  Plants are also the gifts that keep on giving because they need ongoing attention and care. Before you know it, you’re staying active during quarantine, and you’ve surrounded yourself with lush greenery inside and/or outside.
  4. A chore-way to keep moving. You’re probably spending more time at home than ever, which could be keeping you from being the active retiree you were before the pandemic. Believe it or not, there are fun ways to stay active at home, all while you’re doing things that commonly need to be done. You’re likely washing more dishes, putting in more loads of laundry, and daydreaming about the active adult communities you can’t wait to get back to.  The good news is housework already involves some level of activity, so why not kick it up a notch?  The next time you find yourself in front of the sink washing dishes, do some heal raises.  Stand on your toes as you lather up the dishes, and back on your heals as you rinse them. Repeat this with your cups and flatware and you’ll have infused a simple way to stay active during quarantine without much effort.  Try to stay standing while folding laundry and place your basket a few feet away so you can walk to it to place each folded item.  When you’re feeling like you’re running out of ways to stay active at home just remember that a little movement can go a long way!
  5. Dance  because no one’s watching. When you think about active games for Canadians 55 and over, make sure you don’t leave out one of the most fun ways to stay active at home: dancing! Turn on some tunes throughout the day and move your body for an at home workout that your heart will love.  Sing along as you move and you’ll strengthen your breathing muscles and your cardio, improve your posture, clear your airways, and build stamina. Staying fit and active at home can be a lot more enjoyable when your favourite singer is keeping you company. As far as staying active after retirement goes, this might just be one of the most fun ways to stay active at home!

When you’re thinking of how to stay active during quarantine and especially staying active after retirement,  it’s important to remember that physical activity, even if it means finding ways to stay active at home, is better than no activity at all.  Active retirees will someday soon be able to resume their pre-pandemic lives and get back to enjoying the active games for Canadians 55 and over with their friends and loved ones. In the meantime, staying active at home can help to make that transition back a little easier on the body. Who knows, maybe by the time you’re back on the tennis courts or golf course, all of those heel raises while doing the dishes may end up giving you the upper hand you’ve been looking for!

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