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Retirement: What’s your plan?

POSTED: July 16, 2015 9:59 a.m.
Jenniffer Michaelson/

From the office chair to rocking chair. If this sounds like your plan for retirement, reconsider this. A study revealed those who felt they had a purpose or direction in life outlived those who did not.

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From the office chair to the rocking chair.

If this sounds like your plan for retirement, consider this: A study published in the journal of Psychological Science in July 2014 revealed those who felt they had a purpose or direction in life outlived those who did not.

In fact, according to SeniorAdvisor.com, staying active is essential to prolonging your golden years. Exercise slows the aging process, stimulates the brain and keeps the immune system strong.

Something as simple as balance can make a world of difference in later years, and that is exactly what Shawn Darby realized after sitting in front of a computer for nearly two years.

“One of the things I couldn’t do was lift my foot off the floor," Darby said.

Relying solely on walking sticks and her two dogs, Tansy and Giggles, Darby wasn’t able to move without assistance: “I was literally a chair potato,” she said.

Darby said after years of being dormant, her core became weak, and she wasn’t able to do the things she enjoyed when it came time to retire. Darby signed up for Intermountain Healthcare’s balance and mobility class.

Exercise physiologist Kevin Weston said the purpose of the class is fall prevention.

“It’s a way for older adults to learn and to understand different strategies so that they can stay independent in their homes and to lower their risk for falls, whether out in public or in their homes," Weston said.

He said his clients quickly learn how to walk without shuffling and stand more upright, changing their entire point of view.

“When they walk into a room they’re actually noticing pictures that are up on the walls because their eyes are forward rather than looking at the carpet," he said.

In just three short months, Darby has already noticed a difference.

“I’m feeling better and better about what I can do, every time I come," she said.

Now she’s able to cross a room unassisted, and she said that makes all the difference.

“I would recommend people have activities; have things to do," she said. "Think about that before you retire or you’ll end up in that rocking chair and you won’t live long. I’m not going to that rocking chair, I don’t dare.”

For more information, contact the Intermountain Live Well center in your area.
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