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Billie Silvey
Enjoying a
Healthy
Retirement
When my mother was young, she broke her arm.  The
doctor put it in a cast and sling to keep her from
moving it, but when they finally removed the cast, she
couldn't lower her arm.

She had to carry buckets of sand to weight it
sufficiently to be able to move it. Having been
confined for such a long time had caused the muscles
to atrophy.

It's important to
move when you're retired.  It's too
easy to see retirement as a chance to sit around and
take it easy.  You can do that, but it isn't good for
you. Like my mother's arm, your muscles can atrophy
and lose their strength.

Every morning, I try to do the
stretching exercises my
physical therapist gave me when I got out of the
hospital this summer.  Breathe when you exercise,
inhaling with the tension and exhaling with the release.  
Move slowly and smoothly.  Don't jerk or bounce.  

Follow exercise with a big glass of water, and don't
fail to include electrolytes, especially if the weather is
warm. Preventing
dehydration is not just a matter of
drinking water.  

Later in the day, Frank and I enjoy getting out of the
house and taking brisk
walks together, gradually
increasing the distance covered.  Other alternatives
would be to swim, exercise in water, dance or garden.

Physical activity not only increases strength.  It
improves balance, lifts the spirits, sharpens the
appetite and makes you tired enough to sleep well at
night.

Find ways to exercise around the house.  I try to
clean at least one room a day, pushing our rather
heavy, old-fashioned vacuum cleaner, dusting furniture
and mopping floors.  I carry loads of dirty clothes to
the garage to wash, and bring heavier loads of wet
clothes in to dry.  

I asked to talk with a dietician at the hospital, but it
never happened.  Still, I know the importance of
continuing a varied
diet of fruit and vegetables, lean
meat, chicken and fish, nuts and beans, milk or yogurt
and whole-grain breads.  I try to incorporate
Mediterranean foods--Italian, Greek and Arabic--into
our diet frequently.

Each night, I get 7-8 hours of
sleep, recently filled
with dreams.  I was particularly happy when I began
to remember those dreams.  That means I'm getting
deep, restorative REM sleep.
March 2013
Mental Health
Emotional Health