Health

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.

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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)

  • best age friendly sports for older adults, seniors clubs, seniors programs, older adult fitness, fitness for the elderly, seniors services, seniors activities, senior citizens fitness, seniors fitness, 50+, 50 plus, sports, seniors exercise, tennis, badminton, ping pong, table tennis, swimming, aquafit, walking, hiking, yoga for seniors, tai chi, wii for seniors, golfing, biking, curling, cross country skiing, lawn bowling, fishing, boating, dancing, dance lessons, zumba gold, dance classWalking – 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.

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  • 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 an 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. 

**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.**

*Images are either licensed, public domain or Creative Commons licensed & sourced via Wikimedia Commons, SXC, Vimeo, YouTube, or Flickr, unless otherwise noted*

Anita Hamilton

50+ World editor & baby boomer writer Anita Hamilton has always been interested in the "real people" stories behind the characters that create and inhabit the world of music, books, movies, television shows, current events, history, etc. A lifelong love of research (ok, nosiness) and writing, combined with a loving and supportive family complete with 3 mini-dachshund minions, keeps her busy.

Comments

nancy May 21st, 2020 at 10:19pm

look for a softs ball team in moreno valley ca winter team 2020 iam 54 yrs old thanks nancy good day

Afton Jackson May 1st, 2020 at 2:01pm

My uncle has been obsessed with work his entire life, and now that he's planned on settling down I want to try and socialize with him as much as possible to make up for the lost time. I liked the part of your article that mentioned warmer weather outdoor sports because my uncle always liked cozy walks outside as a stress reliever, and it looks like golf is the perfect sport for him in that regard. The nearby clubhouses could also give him and I places to talk about family stuff whenever he gets tired. I'll be inquiring if there are nearby golf resorts or clubs I can take him to as soon as I can. Thank you for your article!

Me March 10th, 2020 at 12:43pm

The Associated Press Stylebook uses backyard (one word) for all uses

nancy glaviano,avila March 7th, 2020 at 10:05pm

iam 53 yrs old i like now were can i play softs ball or take a tap dance class out here in moreno valley ca thanks nancy

Anita Hamilton February 16th, 2020 at 7:34am

Thanks!

Ellie February 16th, 2020 at 6:31am

“ down the street/out in the backyard, for practice.” This should be 'back yard', two words. Remember - you can play backyard sports in your back yard.

Anita Hamilton February 16th, 2020 at 7:34am

Thanks!

yasmin Ali February 11th, 2020 at 4:53am

Hi

I would like to do a case study on a coach leading an older adults session if you have any in Rotherham/Sheffield area

JoAnn December 10th, 2019 at 7:30pm

I'm interested in playing Pickleball. I have played Tennis, but not Pickleball yet!
I live North Oro valley, AZ 85739

JoAnn December 10th, 2019 at 7:30pm

I'm interested in playing Pickleball. I have played Tennis, but not Pickleball yet!
I live North Oro valley, AZ 85739

Thank JoAnn

50+ World December 9th, 2018 at 11:22am

Sounds fascinating!

Bob Moeykens December 9th, 2018 at 9:37am

Hi Good Morning

I think your list is incomplete without Pickleball. Pickleball is outpacing all of your recommendations for Senior participation. I would like to get information to you about senior participantiin in the FASTEST growing recreational sport in America. I am avid player and have seen transformation in people’s lives when they enjoy a sport such as this. 55% of all participants surveyed say that it is the social aspect to why they participate. Related longevity surveys report longer living when we engage in social sports activities. Pickleball is the perfect match.

50+ World December 9th, 2018 at 11:22am

Sounds fascinating!

Terri October 14th, 2017 at 10:47am

Looking for sport to join for just plain fun Milwaukee Grernfield Wi.

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