With so much attention focused around the importance of fitness over 50, exercise can seem more like a chore than anything else, but that doesn’t mean you have to drudge through your workouts every day. Working out can be as fun as you make it, and one way to ensure that you don’t get bored with your daily exercise routine is by switching things up and trying out a new sport.
Sports are inherently interactive, so participating in a senior-friendly sport is a great way to not only stay active but also to remain social. They are engaging on both a physical and mental level, ensuring that you will reap the maximum amount of benefit from participation. What can be better than that?
The 5 Best Sports for Older Adults
When it comes to fitness over 50, certain sports are better than others. Before trying any new exercise or sport, you should always speak with your doctor to learn if there are any activities that you should avoid due to medical conditions or physical limitations.
Once you get the OK from your doctor and create achievable fitness goals, step out of your comfort zone and try any of these sports for older adults that are available at most local senior centers or gyms:
- Golf. You may not be running up or down a field or court, but golf is still a great heart-healthy exercise since the average player walks about four miles on a golf course. To get an even more accurate sense of how much you’re exercising, however, you can wear a fitness band that will track the number of steps you take on the golf course. Not only does golf benefit your heart, but it also boosts your mental health by giving you the chance to socialize with others while enjoying a scenic and relaxing nature walk.
- Pickleball. Out of all of these sports for older adults, pickleball may be the one that you are least familiar with, but it’s actually becoming very popular at local senior centers. Playing on a small badminton court with a tennis net in the middle, you use oversized ping-pong paddles to hit a small ball onto your opponent’s side of the court. A particularly beneficial sport for people suffering from arthritis, pickleball also improves your eye-hand coordination, stamina, reflexes, balance and agility.
- Swimming. Since exercising can be painful for those suffering from joint pain or arthritis, many turn to swimming as an aerobic and therapeutic exercise because it allows you to build up strength without putting pressure on your joints. As an added bonus, swimming laps with others is a great way to socialize, but if you’d rather not compete with other swimmers in the pool, you can still get a workout with these pool exercises.
- Croquet. Croquet is one of the most beneficial for seniors because it promotes both your physical and mental health. Using a lightweight mallet, you need to hit a small ball through six hoops in a very specific sequence, boosting your memory and critical thinking skills. Similar to golf, croquet also allows you to enjoy a relaxing nature walk as the average player walks more than two miles during a match.
- Table Tennis. Perfect for when the weather isn’t cooperating, table tennis is a great low-impact sport to play indoors. Ideal for those with back, knee or ankle problems, it also improves your reflexes and eye-hand coordination. Since it’s such a simple and fun exercise, local senior centers often organize table tennis competitions and tournaments.
The best part about all of these sports for older adults is that little to no equipment is required as most local senior centers and gyms provide you with everything you’ll need to play the sport. If you need to pick up some gear, however, be sure to go to a sporting goods store that offers discounts for seniors so you can get high-quality equipment for less.
The Role of Safety in Fitness Over 50
No matter which of these sports for older adults that you add to your fitness routine, safety must always be a top priority, which is why it’s recommended that you exercise at local senior centers or gyms. Not only will you enjoy the opportunity to socialize with others, but you’ll also have access to certified trainers who will guide you and help you reduce your risk of injury while exercising.
You can also ensure your safety while you exercise with a Mobile Guardian medical alert system. Small enough to fit in your gym bag, pocket or purse, this device gives you round-the-clock access to immediate help should you ever experience an accident while exercising at the gym, community center, park or even in your own backyard.