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social groups in retirement

How can a transition to retirement continue to strengthen our connections to others while simultaneously keeping us active and fit? We all know how important staying active throughout our lives is, while multiple studies confirm the benefit of a social circle on our quality of life and longevity.1

Group travel can allow friends, singles and couples to enjoy the thrill and excitement of experiencing new places together while still catering to individual needs. Look for packages that offer different difficulty levels and options for day outings. Some may want a strenuous 4-hour hike before sunset while others are happy at a slower pace, walking, stopping, talking. At the end of the day, reconnect and share your stories over the evening meal.

Maybe you are newly retired; you and your partner are enthusiastic about going on adventures together. The challenge? One of you has been cycling for decades and can’t wait to book some grand cycling excursions. The other has enjoyed working out at the gym and yoga classes but would also like to join in on the cycling trips- they seem fun and exciting! But how can they keep up when everyone else is more experienced? Technology! The above scenario happened to a friend, and she decided to try an e-bike. She is now enjoying their group cycling adventures without being left behind. Everyone is happy and connections from shared experiences have been strengthened.

Indoor rock wall climbing is another activity that can be enjoyed by people of varying ages and abilities. I treasured my weekly sessions with my much more experienced son, home from college. I chose the green (easy) paths and he was still able to stretch himself on the most challenging. We both got in a great workout, with plenty of bonding time.

As time goes on, you may find yourself slowing down in some of your favorite activities. Remember to remain open to finding new ways to participate. Technology and devices can be helpful. Maybe your long-established walking group at the park has transitioned to the indoor mall, using walkers. The strength training you enjoyed at the gym or boot camp workouts maybe now can be accomplished in a pool workout class. Yoga classes can transition from intense hot yoga to restorative yoga with props.

Don’t forget the children- grandkids, nieces, nephews and neighborhood kids. Spending time with them while keeping active and moving is a win-win for yourself and the little ones. They would love to have the time and attention you can give.

The CDC recommends incorporating activities that work on flexibility, balance and strength.2 I believe that remaining flexible in our thinking allows us to adjust to changes in our abilities, to find a balance that works for all and strengthens our connections to each other in this amazing chapter of life. Mens sana in corpore sano. (Sound mind in a sound body)




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