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Stay active, stay well during retirement

Reaching retirement doesn’t necessarily have to equate with living a more sedentary lifestyle. Whilst relaxation is obviously key to retirement, it is also important for retirees to focus on their long-term wellness. As we age, our muscles tend towards weakness, as do our immune systems which don’t work as efficiently as they once did, which therefore requires putting in some effort to remaining active. Keeping bodies and brains active, coupled with socialisation, could potentially save years of ill health and help those in retirement to continue to appreciate living independently and enjoying life for longer. Remaining active has a wide range of physical and mental health benefits. It is well documented that sedentary behaviour is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, stroke and heart problems. In addition, decreased muscle mass and imbalance increases the likelihood of a fall – but progressive strength and balance exercises play a vital part in preventing this occurring. Staying physically active and increasing strength can also enhance confidence, easing day-to-day life activities. As we age, physical activity forms an essential part in maintaining strength and endurance – which in turn plays a vital component in helping retirees prolong and preserve their independence.

Getting active outdoors

There are numerous ways to remain physically active during retirement. Award-winning and internationally renowned retirement community operator, LifeCare Residences, recognises the importance of staying physically active for the wellbeing of their residents. Their communities offer a wealth of opportunities for residents to exercise both indoors and outdoors. Being close to nature is good for our heads, our hearts and our lungs. Spending time outdoors can be responsible for many measurable beneficial changes in the body and the power that green space provides as a force for good has never been more apparent or more important as the UK embraces its third lockdown. All LifeCare Residences communities benefit from easy access to outside space. Despite being situated in the heart of London, residents at luxury retirement community Battersea Place are able to simply step over the road to enjoy the beauty and 200 acres of wide-open space of Battersea Park for a brisk walk or gentle stroll in the lovely gardens or a spot of tennis, boules, bowls or croquet. Grove Place, a beautiful retirement community set in the rural Hampshire countryside provides access not only to spectacular grounds, but also borders the beautifully wild New Forest, a haven for dog walkers and nature enthusiasts alike. Residents at Grove Place are able to enjoy almost unlimited, private access to 27 acres of beautifully-designed grounds within the Hampshire countryside – including a historical sunken garden, stunning meadows bursting with flowering plants and woodland walks with approximately 875 trees – as well as the New Forest beyond. It doesn’t stop there. For those keen to get more actively involved outdoors, residents at Grove Park are able to enjoy the beautifully tended croquet lawns and the immaculate nine-hole putting green or even turn their hand to a spot of gardening. At Somerleigh Court in Dorchester, Dorset, residents are right on the doorstep of Borough Gardens, a beautiful 19th century park laid out to the design of William Goldring – who was the brain behind Kew Gardens. Residents are able to access the adult fitness equipment at the park as well as the four tennis courts which are open all year round.

Getting active indoors

Both Battersea Place and Grove Place boast well-equipped indoor gyms and heated indoor swimming pools which are only available for the exclusive use of residents and their families. Residents at Battersea Place are able to take part in onsite physical activities such as regular Pilates, ballet, reiki and meditation classes which are held in the gym. At Grove Place, near Romsey in Hampshire, residents are able to benefit from the services of a dedicated fitness trainer, Dan. During lockdown, Dan, has co-ordinated outdoor, socially distanced exercises on the lawn and in the car park. During more normal times, without the Covid restrictions in place, Dan offers personal training and aquarobics which are popular with the residents. Strength training has been proven to reduce symptoms of many chronic disease such as arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, back pain and depression.

Specialist equipment for active ageing

In addition, the residents-only gym at Battersea Place has been kitted out with specialist HUR SmartTouch gym equipment which can be tailored to a resident’s personal specifications. All adults experience some level of muscle loss and the ageing process compromises muscle cells’ ability to repair damage. However, research has shown that even into your late 80s, your body still has the potential to build muscle mass which can play a major factor in falls which is why the HUR SmartTouch is an ideal piece of equipment to aid strength training in older age. This system was developed in Finland and designed specifically for active ageing and wellness. It has been designed to combat the risk of falls and tackle Type 2 Diabetes as well as aiding cardiac, hip and knee rehabilitation. Each of its programmes are personalised and every resident at Battersea Place has access to the HUR SmartTouch machines which are ideal for residents who are building up their strength. With settings as low as 0.1KG, it allows greater control as incremental adjustments can be made. This of course provides greater flexibility than the average gym, where weights are rarely lower than five kilograms, added to this, the HUR works with air pressure, which allows residents to exercise in a more comfortable way at an appropriate intensity without risking damage to joints or connective tissue. As the session begins, residents have simple instructions from a virtual personal trainer. Empowered to exercise independently, the touch screen on the machine provides goals and feedback as well as instructions for an immediate sense of achievement as they can see the progress they have made in real time. Susan Balfour, resident at Battersea Place, comments: “I find the HUR system to be very good. The exercises I have been given me to do help strengthen my legs and arms. The machines are easy to use because I have a bracelet that has my specific exercises on it and it monitors and regulates what I do.”
The team at LifeCare Residences recognises the importance of promoting physical activity in older age – as those who exercise not only tend to have improved immune and digestive systems, they have better blood pressure and bone density and a lower risk of heart disease and certain cancers (as well as enhancing mobility, flexibility and balance). All these factors, in turn, equate to a more fulfilling and enjoyable retirement.
If you would like to learn more about our offering and how we can enhance the ‘every day’ please call T. 0800 009 6950.
For those who are unable to visit in person, we are also able to offer virtual tours of our communities at your convenience.