Safe Sports For Seniors

senior exercise with dogThis is a guest post by Earl Reidlen.

Just because you’ve retired from work doesn’t mean you’’ve retired from living, from enjoying the life-affirming joy that accompanies sports and athletics.  Sports offer many physical and mental benefits to seniors, and while hockey and full-contact football might be off the table, there’s a litany of other great sports and sport activities that seniors can safely participate in.

Senior Golf

Golf is far and away the most obvious sporting choice for seniors; you don’t hear too many people dream of retiring to play baseball or basketball with their free time.  Physically, golf is a great game for seniors as its relatively low impact, helps flexibility and range of motion, which can help ward off injuries, and, if walking, provides a fantastic cardiovascular workout as well.  Golf is also a great way to experience the outdoors, socialize and engage in some friendly competition —all of which help to boost spirits and morale.

Bowling

Bowling is another sport for seniors that allows some physicality, competition and socializing.  What’s great about bowling is that it can fit any level of athlete; you don’t have to chuck really heavy balls down the lane as fast as you can in order to play the sport.  Bumpers and lower-weight balls mean seniors can play the sport without much risk of injury.  Of course, ankles can be twisted on the slippery floor and too much bowling or weight might cause some shoulder pains, but in general these risks can be avoided and the sport enjoyed.  Bowling is also one of the cheaper sports you can do, which might be great to intersperse with golfing as the green fees can be steep.

Tennis

Another great sport for seniors is tennis.  Though it might not cater as well to all levels of fitness, tennis is a great sport for seniors, especially if they can find people at their skill set level.  It wouldn’t do to have a very fast player match up against a slower player, but more times than not you’ll be able to find a good match.  Doubles are particularly great for seniors as it makes the space of the court more manageable.  Depending on where you live, tennis is also a low-cost sport, sometimes free.  There are areas where tennis is only available as a club option, but if the costs are manageable, these clubs can be great ways to meet new players and socialize as well.

Motion-Sensing Gaming Devices

Gaming technology like the Nintendo Wii and the X-Box Kinect also offer some fantastic sports opportunities for seniors and many times with much less physical risk.  Sports like golf, bowling, tennis, baseball— even boxing— are available in these motion detection gaming systems.  Possibly the greatest thing about these games is they don’t necessarily work the best by mimicking the real movement; often its slower, simpler movements that work best for these games, making it easier on seniors who don’t have the range of motion, the speed or the strength they once had.  It also means they can compete on a level playing field with children and grandchildren!

Just Do It

Just because you can’t, or shouldn’t, throw a 90-mile-an-hour fastball anymore doesn’t mean sports can’t still be part of your life.  There are still plenty of ways to stay active, competitive and safe in your later years, and with the continuing innovation shown in today’s technology, more options are emerging every day.

Author Bio: Earl Reidlen has written poignant articles for the sports world for many years. When he’s not busy writing or fishing with his son, you can find him reviewing companies like M.Putterman.

Image credit: senior exercising with dog image courtesy of MorgueFile

 

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