For most people, exercise is critical to maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle. Being active can be especially important as you age, and engaging in sports is a fun way to get your exercise in. Sports can provide seniors an opportunity to get active, and they're also known to improve self-esteem, the ability to cooperate with others, and your day-to-day mood. Plus, they give you an excuse to get out and socialize with others in different ways.
Here are five sports to consider participating in to improve overall fitness. Before you embark on any new activity, though, make sure to clear it with your doctor—especially if you're dealing with a chronic condition or mobility concerns.
Swimming and other water sports are a great choice for many seniors as they allow full-range of motion while providing full-body support. Treading through the water gives muscles a workout while accelerating your heart rate to build cardiovascular fitness. Swimming can also help improve endurance and support you in maintaining respiratory health.
Aside from swimming, there are many water sports seniors can enjoy while in the pool. You can play a variety of games, including water polo and Marco Polo, especially if you're engaging in this type of exercise with multiple people. If you're just looking for a good workout while in the pool, you can use the water to support you for aqua exercises instead. Some good exercises to complete when in the pool can include aqua jogging, water pushups or assisted aerobic exercises if you have physical limitations.
This is perhaps the easiest sport to start participating in for mobile seniors, as the only requirements are a good pair of running shoes and some courage to start. Although jogging can seem intimidating at first, walking and jogging can be incredibly rewarding for your physical and mental well-being. If you're not comfortable with running right away—or at all—you can ease into it by starting with short, brisk walks.
Luckily, the state of Colorado is known for its beautiful sights and rolling landscapes, and there are many parks available for you to walk or jog in to enjoy the scenic views. You can also walk the grounds at the Park Regency assisted living community or take a few brisk laps around the indoor halls and common areas when the weather isn't ideal outdoors.
If you want the cardiovascular benefits of running without the pressure on your joints, another popular option is bicycling. You might have enjoyed riding back in the day, so why not get back on the bike to improve your overall fitness level? Cycling also promotes weight loss and helps to build up muscle mass.
Seniors who have the balance and ability may purchase a bicycle to enjoy on bike paths or in nearby parks. Those that aren't so confident in their balance might start with a stationary bike at a nearby gym or in their own assisted living apartment.
Golf is a sport that just about anyone can learn. Whether you want a quick game at a putting course or the full 18-hole experience, you can find an option that works for you. And you don't need to be able to exert a great deal of physical force or be in great shape to enjoy the game.
Although golf is not as active as other sports like basketball, you'd be surprised how much exercise you're doing while out playing a round or two. Did you know that the average golfer can walk up to 4 miles during an 18-hole game? This amount of walking can burn some serious calories and help you maintain a healthy weight.
For seniors that don't want to or can't engage in sports with heavy cardio requirements, yoga may be an ideal solution. Yoga is a very low-activity sport designed to help people gain strength, flexibility and balance. It can also promote healthy physical and mental well-being.
Exercise in general often causes a boost in energy and mood, but many people enjoy yoga as a way to help reduce depression and anxiety and promote a more positive outlook on life. Another great thing about yoga is that you can participate in the practice regardless of your mobility level, since the exercises are all customizable and you can find programs for doing yoga from a chair if necessary.
No matter your age, participating in some level of activity for about 30 minutes a day at least three days a week has been proven to increase overall physical health.
The Park Regency assisted living community in Loveland, CO, provides residents access to many on-site lifestyle amenities, including opportunities to exercise with others. Consider a visit to the fitness center and ask the staff about current options for getting active. You may even find a group of fellow residents who are interested in participating in activities with you.