Use it or lose it

Gooding’s guide to fitness

My parents retired several years ago. Like many of you who are also retired from a lifetime of work, my folks were excited to choose how to spend their free time.

Many options were made available to them, ranging from golf to volunteering in schools, and from biking groups to pinochle clubs. I am thankful that they have chosen a variety of activities to fill their days—activities that challenge them both mentally and physically.

Studies show that many retired people become less and less active as the years go by. Rather than choosing to travel, golf, bike ride, sail, or hike, many retired individuals choose to play cards, read, knit, or volunteer.

Don’t get me wrong—both physically and mentally challenging activities are important; however, it is crucial to stay physically active during retirement years to maintain muscular strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility. If a person slows or stops being physically active, injuries and accidents often result due to weaknesses or poor balance.

I encourage you to get involved in activities that you enjoy and that keep you active. However, if you are reluctant, consider doing simple exercises to maintain your balance and strength at home.

Many of my clients (especially my older clients) need to work on and improve their balance. So, I encourage them to stand on one leg while they are standing at the kitchen sink rinsing the dinner dishes. I suggest they spend equal amounts of time on each leg, and to increasingly make it more difficult by either doing a light one-leg squat, or to stand on their tippy-toe while balancing on one leg. If necessary, I advise them to hold on to the counter for additional balance support while doing any or all of these strength and balance activities.

Once you start improving your coordination while doing household chores, it’s amazing to realize how many opportunities there are to improve your balance and strength while in the comfort of your own home. Most of all, these mini exercises should be fun, easy, and, best of all, can be done while doing other activities.

Of course, I encourage you to all get at least the minimum amount of cardiovascular exercise as well (hopefully, doing an activity you enjoy), but it certainly helps to multi-task when working on balance and light strength training exercises. Enjoy retirement. Best of luck to you, and please let me know how it goes.

Angie Gooding is an educator and a personal trainer certified through ACE (American Council on Exercise) and owner of Inspire Fitness & Training. She lives locally, and trains clients in a private location in Marysville. She can be reached at or

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