What should be going through your mind when you think about what sports are accessible to seniors? It depends on the preferences of the individual aging family member, what they want to achieve, and their current physical condition. That said, some sports tend to be more accessible to seniors than others and often result in greater enjoyment and fewer injuries, and increased fitness and health benefits. Here are some of those sports, along with the reasons why Golden-age adults want to consider them as an alternative to their usual exercise regimen.
If you have access to a bike, it’s easy to incorporate cycling into your workout routine. Cycling is an extremely accessible sport for aging family members because there are no specific skills involved, you don’t need to go to a gym or fitness class, and all you need is a good pair of gloves, some warm clothing if it’s wintertime, and your bike. Cycling also provides great cardiovascular exercise by using large muscle groups. Aim for 30 minutes three times per week at first. You can then increase that time as your endurance improves over several weeks.
Swimming is great for your body because it’s low-impact. It works on strength, endurance, and flexibility—all things that are important for aging people. In addition, it is a very social sport, so if you don’t like to be alone, you will love it.
Even though all ages can enjoy water aerobics, it is best for persons in their golden years. It’s gentle on joints and won’t cause you to overexert yourself. The buoyancy of the water will help build strength without causing injury, which makes it a great option for older adults who want to get in shape but aren’t used to working out. Be sure to follow your instructor’s guidelines for safety while exercising in water.
Golf is one of those sports that people automatically assume requires you to be able to move quickly and nimbly, but that’s not necessarily true. While it does require a decent amount of physical activity (walking), many golf courses offer options for people who aren’t completely spry. Electric golf carts, for example, make it easier to play without breaking a sweat. Depending on your level of mobility or desire to exercise, you can walk or ride and play as much as you want. The same goes for other clubs and leagues: Check out your local park district and see what activities are available for Golden-age adults.
Tennis is easy on your joints, which is great news for people with arthritis. It also helps strengthen your muscles, so you can have more energy to do things you enjoy. The game is low-impact, so if you have a medical condition or are overweight, tennis is a good way to work out without wearing yourself out before dinner time. It’s also a social sport you can enjoy year-round.
Badminton is a fun way to exercise without putting too much strain on your joints. It’s quick-paced and involves volleying, which means it’s not hard on your body. A high heart rate helps you lose weight while staying active for long times. Badminton is accessible to all ages, which makes it great for Golden-age adults.