Written by James Fleming
Physical activity is important at any age, but as one gets older, there are even more reasons to keep the body moving. Studies have unquestionably linked regular exercise to a longer lifespan, proven to help prevent heart disease, dementia, obesity, and diabetes while postponing up to 40 other conditions. Not to mention that it can also be a lot of fun!
Look over the following list of sports and speak to your doctor about which ones ideally suit your current abilities.
If you suffer from arthritis or any type of joint inflammation, then swimming is as low impact as it gets. The weightless properties of the water will alleviate any pressure from your body while you still benefit from a full cardio workout. To really stretch those muscles and get your respiratory system busy, join in with some group activities, such as water aerobics, polo, and volleyball.
For those who struggle to run, cycling is a great low impact alternative with more advantages than just fast calorie burning. Cycling is also a popular method of transportation which will save you money while also lowering your carbon footprint. What’s more, it can be very enjoyable to watch the scenery gliding past you, especially if you join a club and participate in group rides!
Whether you love a game of tennis or prefer variations such as squash, badminton, or ping-pong, this sporting activity is the perfect way to improve your balance and your eye-hand coordination while zapping those calories clean off. However, the fast-paced nature of this games does require quite an intense amount of running and jumping, meaning it’s not ideal for those with joint problems. That said, if you do feel a repetitive ache coming on, look at purchasing a brace or experiment with hot and cold therapy where you apply ice packs and heat pads in alternating temperatures.
You may be thankful to know that even a casual round of golf can do wonders for your overall fitness. Your lungs will appreciate the fresh air, your arms will strengthen from your swing, your brain will provide its deepest puzzle-solving skills, and you will be on your feet for an extended period of time, occasionally even walking uphill. Best of all, with your muscles stretching and your core activating, you’ll be having so much fun that you won’t even notice that you’re exercising whatsoever.
Simple yet effective, some reports claim that you can get all the physical exercise you need from just 10 – 20 minutes of walking a day. Your blood flow will increase and you will shed those excess pounds without placing too much strain on your joints and ligaments. Furthermore, the fresh oxygen and beauty of the outside world are famous for increasing positive moods and clearing your cluttered thoughts right up.
If you’re going to exercise, you might as well have fun with it, right? Dancing is one of the most enjoyable ways to get a full body workout, so look out for senior classes in your area or watch online tutorials to develop this brand new skill. Your energy levels will rise, your memory will be tested to recall certain steps, and you’ll impress your friends next time you’re on the dancefloor!
- Lawn Bowling
This physical pastime is very popular in the retiree scene, and for good reason. The various clubs exclusively set up for seniors make for a very sociable gathering, using a bit of friendly competition to improve your balance and coordination.
- Tai Chi
By activating your muscles with the gentle movements of tai chi, your overall flexibility and agility will increase without threatening any joint pains or injuries. Furthermore, the mental discipline and breathing techniques required to perform this martial art will make a huge improvement to your mental state of mind too.
Yoga is another favorite form of exercise for many seniors because it ticks almost every health box without taxing the body too much whatsoever. Your core balance, muscle flexibility, and respiratory flow will all profit from the practice, while the relaxing meditative properties will help unwind a stressful mind. Look out for senior classes close to you and set out to discover your inner peace!
For a much lighter form of sporting pursuits, croquet is the perfect excuse to go outside and exercise at your own pace. This game may not be the most intense workout you’ve ever experienced, but the puzzle-solving focus required will definitely challenge your mental cogs while the social aspect should lift your spirits substantially. Even better is that this leisurely pastime can be performed in your own backyard!