The big day has finally arrived: retirement! You've got plenty of things planned for this new stage of your life and staying healthy is one of them.

Physical activity will help you stay healthy and remain independent. Opinions on the subject are clear: physical activity helps maintain strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. It also helps prevent heart disease, strokes, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and premature death. And it can also reduce the risk of falling.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, “Of all the causes of seniors' injuries, falls are by far the biggest problem, accounting for over 87% of unintentional injuries resulting in hospitalization for those 71 years of age or over, and 75% of the deaths resulting from injury." 

Moving is easy

You can do strengthening exercises. Yoga and tai-chi, for example, can improve balance and posture. Lifting weights and walking will keep muscles and bones strong. Even activities like pushing a lawnmower or digging in the garden are aerobic and can strengthen your muscles. Climbing the stairs or doing push-ups are other examples of activities that will strengthen your body.

Moderate-intensity aerobic activities like bike riding and walking quickly will make you breathe harder and increase your heart rate. They will make you feel warm and breathe deeply. You should be able to talk, but not sing.

Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity will increase your heart rate quite a bit, and you won't be able to say more than a few words without needing to catch your breath. Jogging and cross-country skiing are some examples of vigorous activities.

Start today

If you’re not active now, adding any amount of physical activity can bring some health benefits. Take a step in the right direction: start now and slowly increase your physical activity to meet the recommendations. The more you do, the better you'll feel.

If you're unsure about starting certain physical activities, speak to a health care professional.

For retired people, adults, young people or children, refer to the Tips to get active on the Public Health Agency of Canada website. Desjardins Financial Security also offers information and health resources in the Thinking about your health section of its website. And while you're at it, why not use the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada's heart and stroke risk assessment tool.

Questions? Comments?