Retirement, Pt 4 - Health and Exercise
Hello everyone, Audra here. Thanks for riding along with me on my journey of retirement discoveries. Being newly minted to the role of retiree, I’m finding there are stumbling blocks in my “life of freedom” that I took for granted as I woke each morning to a work-a-day routine. Today’s topic?
I don’t know about you, but from a very young age, I knew the good Lord had created me to be a couch potato. Yep, when left to my own devices, you’d find me either engrossed in my box of 64 Crayola crayons and a coloring book (this went on through college - don’t laugh!), reading a book (early habit - timeless in entertainment), selecting one of my 12 all-time favorite movies to watch for the 100th time.
|Pure Julia at Unsplashed|
What do they all have in common? They are sedentary activities. Do they give me great joy? Yes. Do they help my body stay tuned and keep my brain alert? Not so much.
You’d think after inhabiting this planet for many, many, many years, I’d know what was good for me and make those choices automatic.
Ha! Let me repeat that…HA! Everything is up for grabs in retirement!
Here are a few things to consider in order to help your brain and body be the best they can be:
By saying “healthier” I mean think about about what goes into your mouth. I’m a grazer by nature, so the 3 squares are nothing to me but the next time it’s socially acceptable to eat. Since I snack pretty much all day, I’m not a big portion eater at meals. That’s a saving grace! So when I think healthier, I try to grab good choices as I make my way through the kitchen. Grapes, rice crackers, popcorn - anything in bite-sized pieces. If packaged, I try to break up the package before I feel the need to eat it, so I can just taste, rather than consume.
|Christian Wiediger Unsplashed|
Living in Colorado, “drink more water” is a lifestyle motto. We’re very arid along the Front Range and it’s so easy to mistake hunger for thirst. When I’m out and about, I make sure I have my water bottle with me. At home, I take a quart jar and fill it half way with sparkling water (sweetened) and the rest of the the way with water and ice. It sits beside me at the computer, a constant reminder for me to take a sip. If my pantry is stocked with Wild Cherry, Fuji Apple or Mandarin Orange (those are the Walmart brand flavors), I might refill my jar 3 to 4 times a day!
|Laura Chouette Unsplashed|
It’s embarrassing to admit, but since leaving my office, I’ve lost muscle tone and fluffed up. The County (my employer) was adamant about healthy living and promoted healthy lifestyle choices in the form of workshops and challenges. Get Up And Move email reminders came from our Health representative all the time. You’d think 15 years of encouragement would create a concrete habit!
It did, sort of. My mind knows what I should do, but the desire is weak, LOL! 10K steps a day was easy when I had to run all over the fairgrounds. At home, I depend on my trusty pups to keep me walking. 10K steps a day is easy with them wanting to go on walks all the time.
|Shhhh, don't wake them up! I'm not ready for another walk!!|
This summer, I participated a bit more with the yard work. My husband was more than happy to put a weed-whacker in my hands, safety glasses on my face and turn me loose in the back yard. There’s an odd sense of accomplishment to look around the yard and realize I’ve just cleared the area of 18”- 24” high kochia weed and can once again find the Corgis when they roam through it. It’s a rewarding feeling to have muscles, other than hand and fingers, hurt.
I started stretching exercises out of necessity. Since I don’t have many interruptions any more, I noticed my muscles getting stiff when I moved away from the computer after sitting there for a couple of hours. Oh, how embarrassing!! Toe-touches and door jamb stretches have become staples throughout the day. There’s also a series of stretches my 89 year old aunt taught me in order to stay limber.
|Timo Volz Unsplashed|
Did you catch that? My-89-year-old-aunt-is-giving-me-exercise-advice. Well, she is my favorite, so I listen and obey, LOL.
I know the tips and tricks I just rattled off are probably common place daily routines for most of you. They were in my structured, working world, too. But on my own, I now must take the advice I used to tell my kids: Make good choices.
Stay active. Eat well. Drink often (water)
Retirement does not mean you get to sit back and rust. Being an author does not have to contribute to “secretarial spread.” What works for you? I’d love to hear ideas to break the monotony of my limited routine!!
Now, I’m off to herd the pups around the back field for the third time today.