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The years after retirement are truly the golden years of life, so how will you spend them? Technology can help you stay active, healthy and connected. Shayen de Silva explains how.

Regardless of how you spend your time in retirement, there is still ample opportunity to embrace new experiences.

One of the best ways to do so is with smartphone apps. Whether you fearlessly embrace new devices or you’re a little shy when it comes to technology, apps provide six major opportunities to improve your life as you get older.

1. Keeping fit

Health is wealth, so it’s important that you don’t neglect exercise as you get older. That said, if you have any existing injuries or conditions consult your GP who can best advise you on what exercises are safe for you to perform. Just like a personal trainer, a fitness app can instruct you on how to perform the correct techniques and track your progress.

Walking is an effective low-impact exercise, so using an app like Map My Walk will find walking routes using the GPS in your phone, track your walks, and calculate the number of calories you’ve burned. If you want to try something different, Pocket Yoga is an app that has illustrations and videos that demonstrates how to do more than 200 yoga poses.

2. Keeping in touch

Keeping in touch with family, friends and your community at large goes a long way in sustaining feelings of belonging. In fact, the Modern Australian Communities report has found a large majority of Australian seniors value having strong ties to their community. 30.4% of surveyed seniors say they know the most of their neighbour’s names, while a further 18.2% say they know all their neighbour’s names. Meanwhile, 56.5% believe the quality of your life is reflected by the quality of your local community.

But what do you do when you’re separated from the people you want to be close to? Skype is a popular app that allows you keep in touch with individuals and groups alike. You can send instant messages, make voice calls, and host video conferences with the people you want to keep in touch with. Meanwhile, you can use an app like Cloze that organises all your contact’s information, including emails, phone calls, plans to meet up, notes, follow-ups, and social media.

3. Eating well

Just as it’s important to stay active in your seniors years, you need to make sure you’re eating properly as well. Just like with exercise, you should always consult your GP when considering what foods you should be eating.

Diet and nutrition apps can increase your motivation to eat well. My Fitness Pal provides nutritional facts for over 5 million foods, a diet plan, and a calorie counter to track your caloric intake. It also uses gamification elements to motivate users. Meanwhile, Fooducate tracks what you eat, as well as providing you access to a comprehensive database of healthy foods, diet tidbits, and healthy recipes from fellow community members.

4. Being mindful

If you live a busy life or find yourself in a stressful situation, mindfulness meditation can help you cope with your situation. With consistent practice, you can retrain your mind to appreciate what’s truly important, therefore living the life you want. Headspace is an app that comes with a 10-day beginner’s course that guides you through the essentials of meditation and mindfulness. Calm also provides guided meditations with soothing music. You can set a timer for your next mindfulness session and track your progress.

5. Travelling

As a retired or semi-retired senior, travelling is flexible, empowering, and can keep you feeling young. You can choose where and when to go while keeping your mind and body active. Google Translate is one of the most popular apps for translating words and phrases between over 100 other languages in just seconds! If you need to navigate your way around a city, FourSquare can help you find the best places to eat, drink, shop, or visit. You can also access more than 75 million short tips from local experts.

6. DIY gardening projects for stimulation

Gardening is a stimulating physical activity that helps you stay active, flexible, mobile, and strong. While on the surface it involves digging, planting, watering, and harvesting, gardening also provides sensory stimulation and enjoyment. Whether you’re a green thumb or a novice, you can use an app like Garden Tags that offers plant inspiration, advice and identification, as well as plant care instructions. It makes gardening easy and fun! GrowIt! is an app that helps you find plants and flowers that will work well in your local ecosystem. It also provides identification and information on thousands of plants.

Don’t be afraid of your phone

Using smartphone apps can help you manage your physical health and stimulate your mind, so there’s no need to be afraid of your phone. Many senior Australians may feel uneasy to use apps due to the element of the unknown that can be associated with new technologies. What’s important to keep in mind is that these apps are designed to make your life better. So embrace the apps, embrace the change, and most importantly, embrace your life!

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Shayen de Silva
Since he's been able to put crayon to paper, there's nothing Shayen has loved more than telling a good story. By day Shayen works as a content marketing consultant at Web Profits. By night (and some days) he enjoys inspiring readers on the subjects of healthy living, self-improvement and making a difference.