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.