Suffering from pre-retirement jitters & anxiety? Beat it out by training to lift heavy things; hit the gym!

A barbell will make the jitters vanish because nothing beats anxiety like knowing you’re training your body to become stronger—which will turn back the clock.

When I was 53 I was set to retire in less than two weeks (was a personal trainer years ago, but since then have had a proofreading business).

I was SO looking forward to this! I’ve been looking forward to retirement since I got my first job at age 16.

When I was 14, a slightly older teen girl told me she wanted a job. I thought she was nuts.

Let’s assume your pre-retirement jitters are NOT related to money, that your monthly income will easily take care of your living expenses.

In many cases, pre-retirement anxiety, despite a person having a good pension or anticipated income stream, stems from:

• Fear of boredom
• Losing one’s identity (their job defined them)
• Distress over no longer having a schedule

I don’t know how to say this without sounding harsh, but…are you not aware that there are 20 billion things to do out there?

How can you be bored in retirement or anticipate boredom? Why would you want someone ELSE to dictate your schedule?

One time at a job, I was in the bathroom for a while with diarrhea. Finally I returned to the work floor.

Like a vulture, the supervisor questioned where I’d been. Who in their right mind would want to live like this?

Learn to Pick Heavy Things Up

Take up powerlifting. You are not too old. Ask Shirley Webb, 81 (as of 2019), of East Alton, IL, who can deadlift 253 pounds for one repetition. She began strength training only several years prior.

If retirement is imminent for you, I’m going to assume you’re in your 60s — a child from Webb’s point of view.

Get involved in powerlifting. Get this all set up so that soon after your last day of the 40-hour-a-week grind, you can get started.

In other words, get the gym membership if you already don’t have one. Perhaps hire a trainer and start date.

You can learn powerlifting and strength training without a trainer if you don’t want to invest the money.

I just don’t see how anyone can experience post-retirement anxiety and jitters when they now have an exciting new hobby: lifting weights.

The sport of powerlifting (yes, there are competitions for seniors) involves three lifts: deadlift, back squat and bench press.

Learning to perfect your form with these moves will distract your mind from pre-retirement and post-retirement jitters.

Webb advanced pretty quickly, beginning with just 40 pounds. You, too, may advance much faster than you’ve ever dreamed possible.

Shirley Webb

Knowing that your body is becoming stronger and younger will quash any anxiety.

When Webb first began working out, she needed help getting off the floor and could barely climb a flight of stairs.

So if you feel old, tired and drained, there’s only one magical elixir that will fix that: weightlifting.

In your retirement, you will be able to visit the gym pretty much whenever you please, and will never be able to say, “I don’t have enough time for exercise.”

Strength training and powerlifting will skyrocket your fitness level, making it easier for you to do other things that you might have been thinking you’re “too old” for.

I’ve been lifting weights for years, so that’s not going to change once I retire. However, retirement will give me the time to get back into martial arts. I’d like to try hapkido.

I also want to check out a parkour gym and see if I can take to this intriguing sport.

A once-a-week yoga class is also on my post-retirement roster. So is trying every chocolate cake and pizza in town.

There just won’t be any room for anxiety or jitters!

Even if you’re not much into physical endeavors, think of all the non-athletic activities you can take up: learn a new language, start a blog, try a new hobby (watercolor painting, woodworking, model ship building, gardening, a bowling league, bridge, baking, a new musical instrument, hiking, swimming).

Certainly, there are causes you’ve always been passionate about. You’ll now have time to DO something and make a difference. And you can get to know your grandkids more.

But back to the powerlifting and strength training. I’m serious here. There’s nothing like knowing you can lift much heavier weight than people half your age.

Webb’s 253 pound deadlift is just insane. Most young men off the street can’t even deadlift 135 pounds.

You don’t have to lift as much as Webb, though, to crush pre- and post-retirement jitters; just get IN the gym and go for it!

Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  



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