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How to stay active in retirement

June 1, 2012

Although staying active is one of the most important parts of a healthy lifestyle for seniors, sometimes it can be easy to settle into a more sedentary pattern of living in retirement. However, there are many ways older adults can inject some activity into their daily routine, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Walk, don't drive

Experts say switching up the way you get from place to place will go a long way in helping you stay active. Depending on how far you need to go, walking and biking instead of driving may be your best bet. Not only will you be doing the environment a favor, but going for a walk can do a lot for healthy aging.

The biggest argument for choosing walking over driving is that the exercise may actually help prevent Alzheimer's disease. A 2010 study found that older adults who walked 72 city blocks, or about six miles, every week tended to have better brain volume and cognitive function than those who walked less, according to WebMD.

Pick up a sport

Walking or biking over driving is not always a feasible option, but there are different ways for retirees to stay physically fit. In particular, sports, including golf, team activities and even Tai Chi, have proven to be an effective option, the publication reports. Baby boomers have been especially likely to sign up for team sports.

"The boomers are dramatically more active and the numbers are much more skewed to fitness and outdoor activities," Tom Cove, the president of the Sports Goods Manufacturers Association, told The Associated Press.

Exercise your green thumb

If sports are not your favorite pastime, experts say there are other options. According to U.S. News, gardening has emerged as a great way to stay active later in life. Aside from giving you the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of your labor, it can also be a great way to stay healthy.

Along with the physical benefits offered by gardening, experts say the hobby can also improve overall mood. A 2011 study from Wageningen University and Research Center in the Netherlands found that even a half hour of gardening tended to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Additionally, self-reported mood improved.