5 Senior-Friendly Sports to Try in Retirement

1.    Swimming may be great for your bones. Even if you don’t love water, there are plenty of reasons to love swimming as an active senior. Swimming is a low-impact sport that can be gentle on joints, while other studies have suggested that swimming may also help increase bone density and in turn help reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Even better, swimming may be able to help limit the worsening of age-related pain. In 2005, Stanford University published a longitudinal study indicating that seniors who participated in regular aerobic exercise did not experience a progressive increase in musculoskeletal pain that other, less-active seniors did. Need more persuading? Check out these 6 reasons why swimming can be good for you.

2.    Pickleball might be good for socializing. Pickleball: It’s the best-kept secret of sporty seniors. Although you might not have heard of pickleball before now, you may very well finish this blog wanting to play. Pickleball is a combination of badminton and table tennis that makes for a rousing competition and a fun low-impact workout for many individuals. In pickleball, players stand on either side of a net and use paddles to launch the ball diagonally over the net to their teammate. The game typically ends at 11 points, but the quicker it’s over, the quicker you can redeem yourself in the next round.

3.    Wii Bowling may be beneficial for your balance. Although standard bowling is generally recommended as a great low-impact sport for seniors — even after a hip replacement — very few people know about the benefits of its digital alternative: Wii Bowling. Although the Wii gaming system has been discontinued by Nintendo, the bowling game remains popular. For the last 13 years, the National Senior League has virtually convened hundreds of seniors annually for a seven-week tournament, the NSL Spring Internet Wii Bowl Championships. Even though the game is highly social and entertaining in nature, these seniors aren’t just playing for fun. Much more than a video game, Wii Bowling is an exercise that can have many of the benefits of analog athletics. One study found that playing Wii Bowling may help improve balance in senior individuals. After playing Wii Bowling seated for 30 minutes twice a week over the course of eight weeks, some participants in the study experienced significant improvements in balance measures.

4.    Nordic walking may improve your gait speed. If you don’t particularly enjoy physical activity but do value its benefits for your body, Nordic walking may be an excellent exercise choice for you. Nordic walking differs from regular walking by its use of walking aids called walking poles. These walking poles are not your regular walking sticks. Using slings to holster the crooks of your arms, Nordic walking poles reposition the distribution of weight in your body. In doing so, Nordic walking poles force your posture upright and therefore may help the muscles of your lower body and your core to increase in flexibility and strength. And if you’re looking to increase your speed, Nordic walking may provide a viable means of doing so. In one study, Nordic walking was found to be 106% more efficient than regular walking in improving gait speed among seniors.

5.    Tai chi may improve your balance, bone density and muscle strength. Tai chi is a low-impact ancient Chinese martial art that generally emphasizes deep breathing and slow, controlled movements contrasted with complementary quick movements. Tai chi is not competitive, and it allows participants to move at their own pace. The potential benefits of tai chi are manifold. Studies indicate that tai chi could benefit balance, increase bone density and may also improve muscle strength. One study analyzed the impact of a 10-week tai chi program on seniors’ bodies, and the results were fairly promising. At the end of the program, various participants reported that they experienced relatively less anxiety and depression after the program, less physical pain or discomfort, and they had seen improvement in their balance and gait speed. If you’re looking for a sport with total body benefits, consider giving tai chi a try! 

The above content is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you have a medical condition. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on our site.

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