By now, the vast majority of the population knows the benefits of exercising for physical health, such as reducing the chances of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and numerous other illnesses. But, what about mental health?
Every 65 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia. Studies show that not only is exercise great for the body, but it’s also very beneficial for brain health. According to Harvard Health, studies suggest those who exercise have a greater volume of matter in the parts of the brain that are responsible for controlling cognitive functions such as memory, thinking, and learning.
The heart and brain go hand-in-hand; high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Moreover, the Alzheimer’s Association states that autopsy studies have revealed as many as 80% of those who developed Alzheimer’s also had a form of cardiovascular disease.
Having a physically active lifestyle filled with regular exercise helps combat both cardiovascular diseases and signs of dementia by protecting essential bodily and brain functions. Here are some ideas of fun, sporty activities to stay mentally and physically sharp throughout your glorious retirement years!
Grab a racquet, and hit the court! Tennis is a fantastic sport to keep you active and to keep you social, as it can be played in teams. This sport also helps with coordination, balance, and agility due to quick movements and changes of direction. Tennis has been shown to increase bone density in both men and women, which prevents bone fractures and even osteoporosis.
A sport comprised of elements from tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, you get the best of all three activities wrapped into one. Pickleball is great for people of all ages and experience levels and can be played as singles or in teams of doubles. The court used for pickleball is the size of a badminton court with a similar yet different-sized tennis net. All you need to play is a pickleball paddle and ball! Paddles are smaller than a tennis racquet but a bit larger than a ping-pong paddle, and balls are similar to a whiffle ball.
If you want to learn more about pickleball, read this article to learn all about the sport and how it was invented.
High impact sports and activities can take a toll on the body, especially for those with joint pain and arthritis. Water aerobics is a great way to exercise and relieve stress on your joints caused by more rigorous sports. Water acts as a resistance band when you’re doing aerobics while submerged in a pool, so there’s no need for weights. Aqua jogging, flutter kicking, and water push-ups are just a few staple moves that help increase muscle strength and get the blood pumping, while reducing pressure and inflammation of joints.
Pilates is another low impact form of exercise that is gentle yet effective for all ages and fitness levels. The Pilates method, both on a mat and a reformer machine, uses body weight and sometimes resistance to help improve flexibility, posture, balance, and muscle tone.
Lagree is a low impact yet high intensity fitness activity inspired by Pilates, but it highlights strength training and muscular endurance. Similar to Pilates performed on a reformer machine, Lagree uses its own special type of machine called a megaformer. The Lagree method of exercise also utilizes resistance and body weight, but it emphasizes slow and controlled movements to activate smaller muscle groups and prevent injury. Lagree uses circuit training by form of quick transitions between moves instead of resting in between, which results in a greater cardiovascular workout.
Because golf provides moderately intense physical exertion paired with concentration, hitting the course is another great physical activity that benefits both mental and physical health. Golf is also a perfect opportunity for social interaction, which promotes focus and memory in a community environment.
Nordic walking is a type of exercise by form of walking with ski-like poles that originated in Finland; hence, the name. Think of it like cross-country skiing without the skiing. In fact, Nordic walking is a common training method used by cross-country skiers in the off-season. This type of exercise is a low impact yet full body workout that increases heart rate and decreases joint pressure. When executed correctly, Nordic pole walking could potentially activate 80% of the body’s muscles!
While it is not possible to completely prevent various mental and physical illnesses from occurring, exercising is a great way to help ward them off. Being active not only promotes a healthy mind and body, but a long and happy retirement. Bring your kids and grandchildren along, and get the whole family moving!
Decker Retirement Planning Inc. is a registered investment advisor in the state of Washington. Our investment advisors may not transact business in states unless appropriately registered or excluded or exempted from such registration. We are registered as an investment advisor in WA, ID, UT, CA, NV and TX. We can provide investment advisory services in these states and other states where we are exempted from registration.