Fitness 7: Exercise for the Retired

(To see our earlier Keeping Fit columns, click on the three horizontal white lines top right.)

Keeping the body and mind ticking over

By Roger Childs

It is great to see plenty of older folk out on the streets, not scaring the horses, but getting some exercise.

Many retired people are out there walking, riding bikes and jogging. And plenty of oldies are swimming or exercising in pools.

All the medical evidence confirms that keeping moving has got to be good for you and will increase your life span.

Gyms once had the image of being a setting for muscular men and attractive young women in lycra. This was sometimes the reality, but not any more: there are plenty of older people in gyms attending classes and getting a range of exercise.

Plenty of places to exercise

Many of you will be involved in regular fitness activities. If not, it’s never too late to get started. Check out this Review of this trampoline 14ft with enclosure which is another great form of exercise.

Wherever you live there will be roads, paths and parks on which to ride, walk or run.

On the Kapiti Coast there are plenty of places to keep in good shape:

  • swimming pools in Paraparaumu, Otaki and Waikanae
  • expressway tracks
  • Queen Elizabeth Park with its cycleway and other trails
  • tracks on both banks of the Waikanae River
  • Whareroa Farm: great for mountain biking, tramping, walking and running
  • the challenging Te Araroa walkway from Paekakariki to Pukerua Bay
  • public parks and trails.


The hardest part is turning up. Personal trainer, Lorell Bunker

If you are starting out on the fitness game, have a schedule to do what you’re doing regularly.

Swimmers enter the water in the annual Kapiti Women’s Triathlon

You may want to start out on your own and this way you can sort out a few personal issues, make plans and formulate strategies as you go, as well as enjoy your surroundings.

There is so much more time to take in the world around you on foot or on a bike compared with flashing by in a car.

However, to ensure you are getting the regular exercise, going with family or friends is the ticket as you don’t want to let them down!

You may wish to set the goal of taking part in an event like the Kapiti Women’s Triathlon in February. This annual fixture is designed here for women and girls of any age or level of fitness.

Another regular activity you could consider is Parkrun or walk, Saturdays at 8.00am. (See Fitness 3 in our “Keeping Fit” series. Click on the small horizontal lines top right.)

Join a group

Once you are confident that you can do a reasonable distance on foot or on a bike, think about joining a fitness group.

As regards walking there is at least one group going out every day of the week in Kapiti, except Saturday.

(To make contact get hold of a “Walking New Zealand Magazine” from the Library and check out their Directory of Walking Groups at the back of the magazine. They list groups for every area of the country.)

However, here are some specific contacts in Kapiti:

Another option or extra is joining a gym. (See Fitness 5 in our Keeping Fit series. Click on the small horizontal lines top right.)

Getting the gear

You can keep fit for free, but there is nothing like outlaying some cash to keep you motivated!

If you are a walker or jogger get some decent shoes and comfortable socks.

The Sports shops will give you plenty of good advice, as will regular walkers or runners you might know.

If you prefer riding, having a good, well-maintained bike is essential. Again the bike shops will give good suggestions. In Kapiti the easy availability of the expressway cycleways provides a great incentive to go biking.

This activity is also great if for some reason, like an injury, you can’t walk or run. Being on a bike is low-impact exercise for the legs.

Nordic Walking is an interesting fitness dimension and according to the advertisers:

  • burns more calories
  • releases neck and shoulder tension and is kinder on the joints
  • improves posture and breathing.

Essential equipment items for this exercise are the Nordic poles as well as strong footwear.

Keep on moving

I know it’s not much, but it’s okay
Keep on moving anyway.


Moving keeps the blood circulating, the muscles working and the mind active. Exercising has no disadvantages and is great for maintaining your fitness, lowering your blood pressure and socialising.

If you are heading out with people, leave the cell phone behind and give yourself the time to solve local, national and international problems!

One of the bonuses of being in a fitness groups is that they often end up at a cafe.

Well, we all need to put money back into the economy and keep the coffee culture alive.

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