Newly retired - keeping up fitness and strength

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Sports and Fitness MoneySaving
7 replies 1.2K views
Eliza_2Eliza_2 Forumite
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Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Sports and Fitness MoneySaving
I hope someone can advise. At 64 I decided to retire from my 'main' job a month ago and already feel as though I'm losing strength. I worked in a shop, running around, carrying heavy stuff etc, with very few breaks during the day. I calculated that I walked or ran almost 10000 steps during the working day. I often walked a mile to and from the bus stop to get there too.

Since leaving I've already lost fitness as well as strength. I'm also becoming lazy I'm sure. I've done an hours weeding this morning, felt tired and came in for a coffee and a 'little something' - turning into my mother already!! I also went to lift my granddaughter's bike into the car and really struggled, I'm sure a month ago I wouldn't have thought anything about it.

Can anyone suggest how to build this back up again. I'm probably a stone and a half overweight, but the same weight for 15 years - though I'm sure this will soon increase without exercise and too many 'little somethings'! I've always been 'solid' as well as strong. I recently had a health check and came out with a glowing record so I really need to keep this up.

I feel I need something structured, so I can make a plan and stick to it. I presume something for stamina and something for strength. I live out in the sticks so don't want to go to a gym as we retirees can't afford much petrol - but though I don't have money I do have time. I've got a bike but feel a bit self conscious about using it, (specially the helmet!!) however I know that's silly so could build use of that into a programme.

I've also realised I need loads of other advice about being retired, but will ask that elsewhere.

Thank you.


  • nearlyrichnearlyrich Forumite
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    You can exercise at home without expensive kit I have arthritis and the charity Arthritis Research UK have some helpful booklets about keeping mobile and they show exercises using cans of beans and the stairs rather than buying weights and steps... get on the bike don't worry about how you look there are always elderly blokes in lycra who will look much worse..
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  • MojisolaMojisola Forumite
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    Get out in the fresh air while exercising by walking someone's dog - try dog rehoming centres, borrowmydoggy, Cinnamon Trust or just an elderly neighbour who needs the help.
  • missbiggles1missbiggles1
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    Mojisola wrote: »
    Get out in the fresh air while exercising by walking someone's dog - try dog rehoming centres, borrowmydoggy, Cinnamon Trust or just an elderly neighbour who needs the help.

    Even better, rehome a dog yourself.:)
  • Eliza_2Eliza_2 Forumite
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    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Gosh, thanks, all these replies already! My wonderful dog died a few months ago and I am now at the point where I might be ready to get another, thanks for reminding me. Will start haunting the rescue centres! Will also dig the bike out - the image of the lycra clad gents is hilarious and so true - but they're superfit.

    Will also check out the arthritis exercises, they sound good too. I need to build a plan from all the ideas, so half an hour's biking, an hours dog walking etc a day. With a bit of a timetable. I know that's the only way I'll be disciplined enough to do it but at long last I do have the time!

    Thanks again
  • edited 9 August 2015 at 2:56PM
    17.9K Posts
    edited 9 August 2015 at 2:56PM
    I'm in a very similar position - ie recently retired and had got a little overweight.

    You don't realise what difference it makes with all the little bits of exercise in the course of a day - walk to work, walk around at work, go for walk at lunchtime, walk back from work, leisure activities.

    I think possibly there is a little bit of a mindset that can easily develop of "Oh...I must be starting to 'get on' a bit - as I am retirement age". Then you look around at other people in your agegroup and most of them are not exactly a shining example - as many of them have started to let things lapse one way and another and/or have health problems that are preventing them leading a normal lifestyle. With that you really do have to watch yourself to make sure you don't get into thinking "This is what its like to be this age". Fatal mistake!!!

    Hence I try to make sure I go to mixed age group things and refuse pointblank to get involved with things that are specifically there for my agegroup. No chance. I want to be mentally comparing myself with younger people too and trying to emulate what they can do.

    Dance and walking are what I am trying to slot as much as possible of into my life and I make sure I get some dance in regularly.

    If you can find a group near you that does Tribal Belly Dance, for instance, it will develop muscles you never knew you had even if you were a "youngster" - so would be one suggestion for how to keep your muscles functioning at normal level. Check out YouTube to see videos of what its like. NB; check out the ones with a group doing it and not the solo ones - as this is very much a group type dance (and not an individual thing) and most people cant/don't do the floor stuff.

    I've certainly found I have to keep an eye on leg and arm muscles to keep up their strength.

    One useful little thing I have done is to use Googlemaps to work out distances to walk from A to B for walks I used to do regularly when younger (ie without thinking about it) and check out how many miles they are/what sort of terrain and then tell myself "That is my norm and what I can obviously do easily. So now I must get back to not thinking twice about those distances".

    I'm working my way back up to normal level all round - and will then aim for Better Than Ever after that. Shame not to use all that extra time productively...
  • I know you said about living in the sticks but are there any leisure centres near you? As they often have over 50s clubs/ activities (I often go to the Aqua fit class and I think the majority are 50 plus but the all make me feel welcome). Plus they often have dancing classes and the like and will help with socialising too and will keep you fit
    :T:T :beer: :beer::beer::beer: to the lil one :) :beer::beer::beer:
  • ChrisJJChrisJJ Forumite
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    Seventh Anniversary 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    Walking and cycling are great ways to exercise. I'd recommend a bit of weight training too, as we lose muscle as we age, and muscle is what keeps us strong. It's true that you don't strictly need specific weights, you can appropriate household objects to do the exercises too. Someone mentioned canned food, and water bottles.

    Even just using your own body weight as in squats (for the legs), press ups (arms and chest). You can do press ups using a wall rather than the floor to start with and you can do squats whilst holding onto something for support. It's incredibly satisfying to feel your body getting stronger. You specifically mention that you're not feeling quite as strong, so exercises of this kind would be quite beneficial. You can find heaps of information online.

    Good luck!
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