It’s not always easy balancing a steady fitness regime with a busy workday schedule. Retirement may just provide the time you need to tighten a flabby exercise routine.

In addition to helping you look and feel good, regular exercise can also help reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke and cognitive decline. If your plan is to stay independent for as long as possible, it’s time to lace up the tennis shoes.


Try these helpful tips from USA Today:


  1. Set short-term goals. Schedule a daily walk, make dates to play tennis or sign up for dance classes. Just remember to chat with your doctor about any changes in your activity level.
  2. Think long-term. Set 6-month to 1-year goals to up your exercise sessions. Vacations featuring physical activities, like hiking or biking, can provide a great way to stay fit while having fun.
  3. Track your steps. Pedometers and tracker apps are inexpensive, and can be great motivators.
  4. Get coached by Uncle Sam. According to government guidelines, in order to reap considerable health benefits from exercise, you must engage in moderate-intensity exercise (such as walking) for at least 2.5 hours a week or high-intensity exercise (such as running or swimming) for at least 1.25 hours a week.
  5. Strength for health. Moderate- or high-intensity strength training at least twice a week can prevent loss of lean mass and is good for your bones. If going to the gym isn’t for you, there are at-home alternatives, such as heavy gardening.
  6. Get balanced. It’s easy to do simple balancing exercises at home, such as standing on one foot. You might also try beginner’s yoga or tai chi. Increasing your balance will help prevent dangerous falls in the future.
  7. Stay active every day. Pace while watching TV, or take extra laps at the mall. Whatever it takes!
  8. Be flexible. Stretch your muscles regularly after warming up.


Source: “Retirement: 8 steps to getting in better shape,” USA Today, May 2014


Retired but not idle? What’s your preferred way to keep fit?