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Fit to work – jobs in retirement

What do you do when you retire? Travel the world? Start looking for jobs in retirement? Put your feet up? In my case, literally. I took voluntary redundancy from my job as a manager with the Connexions service, (where, ironically, I helped other people to find employment), got my State Pension and enrolled on a course to become a Personal Fitness Trainer.

Feeling inspired

‘Why on earth would you want to do that?’ people have asked.  Well, I had overheard a man in his 60s complaining to a young gym instructor that younger trainers don’t understand the aches and pains that older people can have when exercising. This started an idea worm that wouldn’t go away.
I’m one of those lucky baby boomers who got the State Pension at 60. I knew I wanted to retire as soon as I could and the redundancy gave me that chance. However, as a single parent of four daughters, I could never afford to pay into a work pension scheme and so only had my State Pension to live on.
I might need an extra income and this meant that I needed to consider jobs in retirement. Working for myself as a Personal Trainer seemed the answer and so I found myself in the summer of 2011 capering around on a course with, generally, much younger people, having the time of my life.

Discovering I could still challenge myself at 60-plus

I spent that summer completing the Certificate in Personal Training. It was hard going because our instructor insisted that we should experience what it was like to do all the exercises we were expecting to teach. ‘Should a woman my age be spending the summer like this?’ I asked myself, lying on a gym mat, legs in the air. After gaining the Certificate in Personal Training I completed the Exercise and the Older Adult Certificate.

Staying active – the key to a healthier and more fulfilled retired life

Most people are aware of the benefits of exercise but are people aware of just how important it is to stay active into old age? Most reports talk about how inactivity can lead to an early death. I have to admit I’m not keen on the death bit, but I am much more concerned about the quality of my life as I get older and I am certain that exercise is the key.
I concentrate on ‘functional’ exercises. That is, exercises that help people with daily living activities. Strong legs to climb stairs. Supple shoulders to reach high shelves. Walking to be able to get out and about... You get the idea. No need to go to the gym or use complicated equipment.
I am much more concerned about the quality of my life as I get older and I am certain that exercise is the key.

Recognising which retirement lifestyle truly suited me

As I said, I initially became a Personal Trainer because I wanted to supplement my State Pension but didn’t want a ‘proper job’ during my retirement. However, it hasn’t quite worked out like that. I’m afraid I have a Mr Micawber ‘something will turn up’ attitude to money.
I discovered that I didn’t want the weekly commitment of classes. What I wanted was freedom. Freedom to use my travel pass to explore; freedom to sit and watch daytime telly; freedom to see my grandchildren when I wanted; freedom to have a day trip to London to visit the Globe Theatre.
Most of what I like doing doesn’t cost vast amounts of money and I have found I can live on the State Pension if I am very careful. I do bits and pieces here and there to supplement my pension and I have won £8,000 on a television quiz show. What I don’t do is earn any money from my Personal Training business. So far. My time is more important to me than money so I don’t have clients at the moment.

A reason for retirement

Although I don’t gain financially from Over Fifty Fitness I do get a lot of satisfaction from helping people, usually on Twitter. I love Twitter. It is ideal for people like me with a short attention span. I now have over a thousand followers (@overfiftyfitnes) and people have said that my tweets about walking 6,000 steps every day have helped them feel fitter and lose weight.
Through Twitter I am the ‘go to’ person for Radio Manchester when they are talking about fitness. I really enjoy that. Although I’ve never made any money from my business, I am having enormous fun going on the radio, tweeting and doing blogs like this. I really do have a mission to make people realise how important exercise is and how much it can improve the quality of life in retirement and older age.
Read Rosemary's fitness tips here.
Jobs in retirement really can be fulfilling, what do you think? Share your comments with us below.
This article has been commissioned by retiresavvy and any opinions voiced are the author's own.


Interesting experience. Wonder how fit you needed to be to do the course and if you became fitter because of it?
#1 I was moderately fit when I started the course. My cardio vascular fitness was good because I run a few times a week, but upper body strength was rubbish. I'm not sure if I was fitter at the end of the course. Maybe a bit. We had to try out all the exercises but really to get correct technique, rather than get fit ourselves. Some things I just couldn't do, i.e. full press-up, but I learned how to modify exercises so that less fit older people can still do them and get benefits.

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