Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fitness in Retirement

A common complaint among retired people is that our clothes just don't seem to fit any more! Especially the waist bands of our pants which somehow seem to have shrunk. Why is this? Obviously, we consume more calories and our activity level decreases as we age, as well as some metabolic changes that occur despite our best efforts to fend off those seemingly inevitable extra pounds.

The good news is, that retirement affords us more time to examine the causes of these extra pounds, and to be able to make some changes in our lifestyle that will hopefully reverse the trend, or at least slow the gains.

One very interesting factoid about weight gain is that people who watch as little as 1 to 2.5 hours of television a day are at significantly greater risk of gaining weight. The reason for this is that heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolic rate are slower when we watch TV than if we were just sitting in a chair reading or knitting! So the moral of this story is easy - turn off that TV and go for a walk! Or set up your stationary bike or treadmill and exercise for a half hour while you're watching the news or your favorite reality show. (Actually, I think my blood pressure goes UP when I listen to the news these days!) Or work on some craft or project that will give your metabolism a little boost while you are watching TV. Every little bit helps!

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