Exercise Plan for the Newly Retired

In the past year I have five friends and personal training clients who are transitioning to part time work or retiring from their careers.

Congratulations Mike, Dominic, Ray, Ted and Steve. You are starting a new chapter of your life. Enjoy it!

With a lighter work load and less obligations you now have the time you need to build more exercise and activities into your daily schedule. It’s vital that you exercise and stay active so you maintain excellent health and keep your body in good working order so you can enjoy this new adventure.

The ironic thing is that some of these guys are busier now than when they were working. But I help them to make exercise a top priority and block out time everyday to be active in a structured way.

Here are a few recommendations:

1) Get a complete checkup with your primary care doctor. It’s a good idea to know your vital numbers and update prescriptions. Be vigilant if you have health problems like high blood pressure, Diabetes, HIV, or orthopedic issues from arthritis . If you have difficulties with your mobility or balance it might be a good idea to see a Physical therapist or a trainer who specializes in working with older adults.

2) What kind of exercise do you need to maintain your health, strength, balance and mobility?

My recommendations for guys in their late 50’s to mid-70’s

MODERATE INTENSITY AEROBIC EXERCISE such as brisk walking, swimming, or bike riding 30 minutes a day at least five days per week. This supports cardiovascular health and helps with arthritis and boosts immune function.

STRENGTH TRAINING two to three days a week. Do at least 10 -12 exercises using resistance bands, dumbbells or machines at the gym. You need to maintain muscle mass as you age to avoid muscle wasting—this is called sarcopenia. You can slow this down considerably if you focus on building muscle.

This also keeps your bones from becoming brittle and solves the problem of declining balance. Loss of balance is an issue of losing strength in the leg muscles.

FLEXIBILITY EXERCISES for at least 10 minutes a day to maintain your mobility. We tend to tighten up as we age and this is a good way to prevent that from becoming an issue.

REDUCE YOUR SITTING TIME and get up and move around every thirty minutes if you spend time at a desk or watching TV.

Sitting is the new smoking. Why? Because the health risks are about the same for both of these unhealthy habits. Sitting can actually change your physiology and constrict blood flow through the arteries.

Get a pedometer or use your smart phone to work towards 10,000 steps per day.

Best places to exercise

A gym or health club. This is my first choice for working out. Not only do you have a greater variety of exercise and aerobic equipment but you have the added benefits of socializing. A lot of guys tend to isolate because the older we get the harder it is to make new friends. The gym is a place for camaraderie with others. Some will be younger, but the gyms are now full of baby boomers who have finally caught on to the importance of exercise.

You also have the advantage of trying out new classes like yoga, group exercise classes, spinning or water aerobics.

And if you are thinking about getting a trainer you can observe the trainers at the gym and see who might be a good fit for your needs. It’s important to find someone who syncs with your values and personality.

A HOME GYM can be a good alternative if you just don’t see yourself being comfortable at a gym or if it’s not in your budget.

All you really need is some resistance bands, dumbbells, a yoga mat and an exercise ball. You might consider investing in a treadmill or exercise bike for doing cardio if you don’t want to go outdoors .

Getting a trainer to come to your home may be a good investment to get you started on a program.

And don’t forget to get outside if the weather is good: walk, ride or hike.

How to put it all together


MONDAY—Aerobics: 30 minutes of brisk walking, cycling, or swimming, 10 minutes of flexibility & stretching.

TUESDAY—Strength train and flexibility exercise: yoga might be something to add to your schedule.

WEDNESDAY—Aerobic exercise indoors: try a new class class today.

THURSDAY—Strength training and stretching.

FRIDAY—Aerobic exercise and stretching.

If you need help or would like a customized program designed for your specific needs please contact me: hartbody@gmail.com or you can call me at (215) 805-8503.