How to get your post retirement partner off the couch and embracing a more active lifestyle

Feb 29, 2024
Adding a dash of creativity to your partner's exercise routine can make the journey toward a more active retirement enjoyable and sustainable. Source: Getty Images.

Retirement is a well-deserved chapter in life, bringing newfound freedom and the luxury of time. However, for some, the newfound leisure might translate to a bit too much quality time on the sofa.

While there is nothing wrong with enjoying a little downtime, especially after a lifetime of hard work, too much time lying around can have detrimental impacts on not only your partner’s health but also the health of your relationship.

If you’re looking to gently nudge your post-retirement partner towards a more active lifestyle and less time on the sofa, relationship expert Emma Paul from Anni has some insightful tips to make the transition smooth, engaging, and, dare we say, fun!

Speak from the heart: The power of “I” statements

Communication is the cornerstone of any good relationship, and Paul underscores the importance of expressing your desires without imposing them.

Instead of projecting expectations, use “I” statements to share your feelings and aspirations. For instance, say, “My Love, would love to deepen our connection and I have wanted to learn how to salsa for some time”.

Paul suggests that “we need to be mindful that we remain free from placing expectations on our partner, to come back to loving kindness always which means we accept them as they are, unconditionally.”

By anchoring conversations in personal experiences, you can help foster understanding and encourage mutual exploration.

Conquering fear with a good chat

Fear can be a barrier for anyone when it comes to giving something new a go. To overcome this stumbling block when trying to encourage your partner to be more active, Paul advocates for open conversations about fears and vulnerabilities.

“Fear is often an emotion that stops us from trying something new, often associated back to an expectation ‘fear of failure’ for example,” she explains.

“Being honest around fears and sharing moments when we have felt this way, tapped into our courage to overcome our fear and expressing how we felt afterward can help dissolve resistance that is fear driven.”

Dismantling fear-driven resistance through dialogue can allow you to pave the way for a more positive perspective on the idea of getting up and about.

Creative ways to peel your partner from the couch

Adding a dash of creativity can make the journey toward a more active retirement enjoyable and sustainable.

One delightful aspect to consider is the newfound flexibility that comes with not having the time constraints of a typical 9-5 job.

According to Paul, this means “retirees can combine travel with exercise goals or take part in fun activities such as dance classes.”

The beauty lies in turning exercise into a shared experience, fostering commitment, and adding a sprinkle of fun to the journey.

Small steps for a lasting change

Both partners can openly share ideas and concerns, trying a couple of activities from each other’s wish list. Setting realistic goals around the most enjoyable activity ensures a gradual and sustainable introduction of physical activity, minimising resistance.

“Inviting the resistant partner to share ideas about something they would like to try as well as sharing their fears, which could be ‘I don’t want to feel silly if I stepped on your feet in a dance class’,” Paul explains.

“Exploring different options, honouring one another’s curiosity and agreeing to try 2 or three activities from both wish list. From here, goals around the most enjoyed activity can be set.”

In essence, it’s about starting the conversation, understanding, and embracing the opportunities that retirement brings.

So, initiate a dialogue with your partner about embracing a more active lifestyle, hand in hand. After all, the couple that explores change together builds a healthier and happier future.

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