Best Age-Friendly Sports for Older Adults
There’s nothing like the thrill and camaraderie to be found from playing team sports with a group of people that have similar abilities. While every person’s individual abilities and fitness levels differ, typically as we age, the more aggressive team sports we enjoyed in our youth may pose a higher risk of injury as we get older.
What are the most age-friendly sports for older adults and seniors to enjoy? Take your pick from these favourite sports activities for seniors:
Year-Round Sports (Outdoors or Indoors)
- Walking – Going for a walk or a hike gets you out of the house, and your speed doesn’t matter; use Nordic Walking poles if you want to get more of a workout from your walk. Check out local conservations areas & parks; or if the weather is bad, become a solo mall-walker or join a group.
- Swimming – Indoor community pools usually offer the opportunity to swim lengths, in addition to aquafit classes, which are particularly kind to aging joints and bones. Some even offer warm/hot pool exercise activities.
- Yoga, Tai Chi and Wii Bowling are fun activities that offer low impact fitness and relaxation for individuals or groups. Many libraries and seniors centres offer these types of seniors programs
- Dancing – There are plenty of dance lessons on offer, and it’s a great way to have fun and get fit. Zumba Gold is a dance class designed specifically with older adults in mind.
- Tennis or badminton – Indoor and outdoor courts offer year-round “ladders” you can join to play these fun raquet sports; most offer “senior” leagues. For an equally fun time – ping pong or table tennis!
- Pool or Billiards – Indoor year-round fun that you can enjoy at home if you’ve got the room, or at a pool hall. Some may say it’s not a sport, but moving around the table, bending and reaching, is more exercise than clicking a remote control.
- Pickleball – A net and ball game similar to tennis, but played at a slower place on a smaller court. You can play singles or doubles where offered at your local recreation centre, and it’s been proving very popular with aging baby boomers.
- Powerlifting / Weightlifting – NOT something for the person who only wants to go occasionally to the gym or do a light workout now and then. However, for those who venture down this road (after getting the nod from their physician and following expert advice to avoid injuries), weight lifting is something that can be enjoyed year-round and doesn’t require a partner (except for safety spotting). There are female and male senior powerlifters that pursue it competitively.
Warmer Weather Outdoor Sports
- Boating – While motorboats are fun, canoeing will give you more bang for your buck if you want to combine fun with fitness.
- Fishing – Whether it’s deep-sea fishing, or sitting on the bank of the nearest pond or river, senior anglers can enjoy this activity well into their later years.
- Lawn Bowling – A great team sport that offers the benefits of socialization and a gentle fitness activity for older adults. There are clubs just for the 50+ and senior generations.
- Croquet – Offers all the benefits of lawn bowling for older adult fitness, but – you can also have friends over and play this in your back yard. Good fun for all ages.
- Golf – Amateur golfers have a wide range of golf courses to play on. Lessons, golf carts, and the clubhouse can all add to your fun whether you’re venturing out as a single to be matched with others, or have a group of regulars to play with. Check out Golf Benefits & Tips for Older Adults.
- Biking – Easier on the joints than running, plus if you strap a basket or carrier onto the front or back of your bike you can multi-task while having fun.
- Walking Soccer / Football – That’s right, no running allowed! A great way for older adults to play a team sport they love while reducing stress on joints and the risk of injury.
- Curling – Another great team sport that offers fitness for the elderly. 50+, seniors and older adults can enjoy curling for many years, usually at indoor ice rinks.
- Cross Country Skiing – for the more physically fit, cross country skiing offers a gentler alternative to downhill skiiing. Go to a trail, or down the street/out in the back yard, for practice.
Don’t let age stop you from keeping physically active. Regardless of your fitness level or whether you’re in your 50+ years, a baby boomer or young at heart senior citizen, there is bound to be a new hobby or activity you can learn and enjoy.
Always check with your physician before starting any new health regimen or fitness activity, so you’ll be aware of any restrictions or safeguards you need to keep in mind. If you’re looking for health, fitness & sports gift ideas for the older adult in your life, check out 12 Gifts Your 50+ Dad Will Actually Use.
**This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical or mental health advice, nor is it a substitute for professional medical or mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician or mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition.**
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