Staying active is essential as you get older, to help with mobility and maintaining a healthy weight while also keeping you feeling young. People who regularly exercise and stay active reduce the risk of illnesses such as cancer and heart disease, and can stay independent for longer. If you are reaching the age where you need to stay active, and have been advised to do so by your doctor, read on to see what the best sports and activities for elderly people are around.
Swimming is fun at any age, but at an older age, it is a great way to exercise while reducing the impact on the joints. Swimming laps can help to improve cardiovascular endurance and muscle strength. But if swimming doesn’t appeal to you, there are other sports to do in the water; aqua aerobics, water volleyball and water polo.
Cycling does not just keep you active, but also gets you out and about. The sport is easy on your joints, provides stress release, promotes balance, strengthens muscles, raises the heart rate and also helps with mental health. Best of all, cycling is a sport that can be done with friends and at any pace you choose. If you aren’t a fan of cycling outdoors, why not join a spin class at your local gym?
Tennis or Badminton
Court sports like tennis, badminton and even squash help promote hand-eye coordination. Your balance is also improved as you are constantly moving about the court. Sports played on a court can also be played indoors and out, and many facilities around the country will offer senior leagues so you can play with people of a similar age and ability.
Golf is a sport enjoyed by all ages, and many players find their skills improve as they get older. The act of swinging the club helps your joints work through a range of motions, and walking from hole to hole on the course will mean you benefit from the cardiovascular activity.
Walking is an incredibly easy activity to start, requiring no more than comfortable clothes and good quality walking shoes. It can be done anywhere; around your town or city, at the park, in the countryside, along the coast – the choices are endless. Walking is a great cardiovascular activity and gentle on the joints. If you don’t want to walk alone, there are plenty of walking groups aimed at seniors you could join.
Tai Chi is a martial art which focuses on gentle, fluid movements and is designed to improve your overall mental health and mood. Doing Tai Chi improves your aerobic capacity and muscle strength as well as lowering blood pressure and improving flexibility. The longer you do the activity, the more you will find your balance and agility improving, which means a reduced risk of falling and breaking bones.
Bowling is a fun social activity that also has amazing health benefits. The weight of the ball helps with the balance of your movements, and the activity can also promote balance and coordination. The social side of bowling can help with mental health and loneliness.
Football is a hugely popular sport, both for watching and playing, although you may find it hard to keep doing the older you get. A great alternative is walking football. There are over 800 clubs around the UK for the sport, which is aimed at over 55s. The rules are simple: only walk, no jogging, keep the ball below head height, no offsides, throw-ins are replaced by kick-ins and no slide tackles. Squads tend to be 5 to 7-a-side, and the sport is great for being social and keeping healthy.