Posted on August 28, 2018 by Gordon Smith

Healthy living in old age involves physical, social and mental wellbeing. Including a well-planned gym in your retirement scheme can improve all three of these aspects. If you are the owner of a retirement scheme, read on for more information on why you should consider installing a gym.

According to a recent Government report, the proportion of the working-age population aged between 50 and the state pension age will rise by 35% by 2050. Additionally, the population of 65+ adults is set to increase by 20% by 2027.

Now that we are living longer, healthy living in old age has reached the top of our priority list.

The Government also believes that suitable housing is a key priority to improving life in older age. In fact, this link is so strong that poor quality housing costs the NHS an estimated £2.5 billion per year.

Not only does this highlight the importance of retirement schemes, but also means there is a need to promote healthy living to residents, encouraging them not to fall into the ageing ‘trap’ of becoming sedentary, which can contribute to failing health.

Keep on moving, don’t stop now

For people entering retirement after years of juggling hectic work, life and family commitments, there is often a tendency to slow down or stop doing anything at all, and this is a danger zone where health can deteriorate unnaturally.

Moving and staying mentally active are probably the two most critical factors for ageing well, which is why it’s important to provide social spaces where people can meet, talk, exercise and keep engaged.

Volunteering is also a recommended way to keep the body and mind agile, so it’s also worth thinking about the potential for residents to help out in the community, either in shops, gyms, cafes or social spaces.

Giving residents a reason to get out of their home every day will ensure they maintain an optimistic outlook, whilst maintaining fitness levels in-line with NHS guidelines.

Promoting fitness

Unfortunately, the over 65’s are one of the most sedentary age brackets, spending up to 10 hours a day sitting down.

Healthwise, this leads to aches, pains, shortness of breath or even injury when having to do something active. Not to mention weakening the body and making it more susceptible to falls.

Regular exercise strengthens the body’s core, increases body strength and helps reduce the likelihood and damage from trips and falls. It doesn’t take much to make a difference either; 10 -15 minutes of exercise every day is all it takes.

Whether it’s walking, dancing, cycling, gardening, swimming or weights there are many ways residents can stay active, the list can go on! It does mean that your retirement scheme needs to make provision for this through facilities such as a gym, dance studio or hall, as well as providing good surfaces to encourage outdoor pursuits, such as cycling.

Role models

Like everyone else, older adults need to be inspired. They may have lived a full life, but we all need something to spark or trigger energy within us.

There are many inspirational people keeping active in so many ways, and who are showing no signs of slowing down. Robert Marchand is a competitive cyclist who took up the sport at 67. He retired in January this year, aged 106. That was after setting a new record for his age category, of course!

It’s not just about cardio – mental positivity can help longevity. Alice Herz Sommer was the oldest known Holocaust survivor and pianist, whose optimistic outlook got her through her ordeal and helped her manage pain later in life. She lived to 101 …

… and then there’s just the downright fun. Jack Reynolds is the oldest man to have a tattoo at 104, the oldest person to ride a rollercoaster, at 105, and now the oldest man to ride a zipwire at 106!

Using role models can help create a positive energy around the community and can also help shape design, whether that’s motivating quotes in a gym or organising seminars for inspirational people to speak about their experiences.

The importance of a gym

All this is great in theory; however, we understand that developers don’t have bottomless budgets and that space may be at a premium, but fitness facilities will give your site a competitive edge and a USP with which to attract residents.

By offering gym facilities you are ticking a lot of the exercise boxes and giving residents a way to get their daily 15 minutes exercise.

With a gym and a fitness studio, you can offer a range of cardio, dance and strengthening workouts, either through weights or group classes, such as Yoga and Pilates. And, for those keen cyclists, they can use bikes in the gym when the weather may not be so great for road cycling.

If your development is in an urban area that’s short of space, a gym can become a communal location that helps residents keep fit and meet people.

The modern gym can be created in the smallest of spaces and still be just as effective.

Healthy living in retirement involves physical, mental and social well-being. Your gymnasium, if well-planned for your scheme, can address all of these issues.