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Aging doesn’t mean you have to settle for the rocking chair. Older adults can join the fun of the sport, too — ask Tom Brady! In all seriousness, staying active is crucial as you age. However, asking yourself to do a marathon into your 60s is a tall task. How can you stay fit in your later years? What are some easy sports to play as you age? Here’s a guide on spectacular senior sports.
What Are Easy Sports to Play As You Age?
When you’re an older adult, people don’t expect you to hit home runs in Wrigley Field or defend Nikola Jokic in the paint. Instead, you’ll have a much better chance with these six sports.
Pickleball is all the sensation. Indeed, you’ve heard of it in the last few years or have even found your way onto the court. If you’re unfamiliar with the game, pickleball combines tennis, badminton and ping pong. Basically, it’s tennis on a much smaller court. Pickleball has surged in popularity, with about 4.8 million players in America as of 2022.
Pickleball is an excellent sport for older adults because it’s easy to play and isn’t strenuous. You can get a solid aerobics session without overworking your legs and other joints. Pick a lightweight paddle that fits your hands and doesn’t make you feel overexerting. The best part about pickleball might be the social aspect. You can play with one friend or make it a party with another duo on the court.
While president, Franklin D. Roosevelt made many trips to Warm Springs, Georgia. His house had a swimming pool with warm water because it eased the symptoms in his legs. Even before Roosevelt, older adults enjoyed swimming because of its simplicity. All you need to do is get in the pool and swim around. Your legs constantly work to keep your body afloat, leading to exerted energy.
While you might not feel it in the water, swimming increases your heart rate and tones your muscles. Who needs the gym when you can use the pool to engage your muscle groups? Plus, it doesn’t even have to be a swimming pool. Oceans, rivers, ponds and lakes are only some of the bodies of water you can utilize for exercise. Just be careful about the native wildlife.
As a retired man, you’ll long for long, quiet days as you take in your golden years. The tranquility is a nice change of pace from the hustle and bustle of work life. How can you relax and still get solid exercise? Wear your collared shirt and khaki pants and head to the golf course.
Golf isn’t a physically demanding sport — the primary exertion comes from hitting the ball with your club. The exercise you get will come from walking between holes. You could take a golf cart from the first hole to the 18th, but you’ll get the most out of your day if you walk. However, we understand if you don’t want to walk the steep hills of Pebble Beach. While cardio is the primary gain, you also get an arm workout with each swing of the club.
4. Walking Football
International football is one of the most demanding sports because of how much running you must do. The average game will see players run about 7 miles unless you’re a midfielder — then you could go as high as 10 miles. Fortunately, walking football takes the most strenuous part of the game away. The rules imply what you’d assume from the name! Instead of running, you walk.
Walking football comes from the United Kingdom, just like regular football. However, the rules cater to older adults. For example, the Walking Football Association says players can’t tackle each other, and the ball must stay below everyone’s head. Your pitch is much smaller, maxing at 65 yards long instead of 100+ yards.
Let’s stay on the topic of British-born sports and discuss croquet. This sport is fitting for older adults by providing easy exercise and mental stimulation. Half the battle of this game is to hit your ball through each hoop or wicket. You also must be strategic with your hits to ensure you and your team win the game.
You won’t get a marathon’s worth of exercise in croquet, but you’ll still walk around plenty and move your body. Gather friends around to make it a social affair, and you’ll notice the hours fly by. Playing croquet also allows you to connect with your ancestors, as they likely played the game at some point. It’s one of history’s easy sports to play, dating back to the mid-19th century.
6. Lawn Bowling
Do you like bowling but not the alleys themselves? These facilities can be chaotic and hard to come by if you live in a rural area. How can you reap the benefits of bowling while getting fresh air? Try lawn bowling! This sport is one of the world’s oldest, dating back to the 13th century. Records show people in the Roman Empire threw balls at targets to knock them down, fueling what we know as lawn bowling.
The rules are similar to alley bowling, with players throwing balls while aiming at a target. You aim to get the ball as close as possible to the jack (or kitty), a small white ball. The player with the ball closest to the jack will win. Unfortunately, there are no over-the-top graphics on a TV screen like there is in bowling. However, the game provides an easy, good time for seniors.
Why Do Older Adults Need Easy Sports to Play?
Playing sports isn’t only for the young athletes in their prime. Older adults also need to get up and move! Here are three reasons why older adults need easy sports to play.
Aging for some people means retiring and watching daytime TV all day. However, you can flip the narrative by staying active. Sports give you a chance to get easy exercise and maintain your muscles. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says older adults need 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly, so these six sports are a great start.
Exercise is ideal for maintaining your weight and keeping your muscles strong. However, other benefits come along with your favorite sports. Physical activity wards physical and mental illnesses typically affecting older adults. For example, the Alzheimer’s Society says regular exercise reduces your risk of dementia by 30% and Alzheimer’s by 45%.
Getting fresh air and exercise makes you feel a type of way. Combine those factors with winning a game, and you feel like you’re on top of the world. Exercising as an older adult boosts your morale and gives you the confidence to live a happy life. You want to be around for your children and grandchildren if you have them, so sports are an excellent lifestyle choice.
Finding Easy Sports to Play in Your Golden Years
Sports have been around for thousands of years. People love gathering and engaging in friendly competition. However, it doesn’t have to be a Usain Bolt track race or a Michael Phelps freestyle. You can find easy sports to play as you age and reap health benefits.