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Sports: Staying Active And Have Fun As We Age

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Posted on May 31, 2024, 3 p.m.

Throughout our lives, we are encouraged to stay active and have fun, this is where sports can come in and accomplish both in one task. Sports are fun to play at any age, and there are a variety of sports appropriate for a range of physical levels.

It is important to stay physically active and moving as we age; sports are a great way of accomplishing this. One of the benefits of sports besides keeping fit, is being active and interacting with other people. The activity doesn’t need to be anything too strenuous, or one that might pose a risk for injury. You could consider walking, swimming, golf, frisbee or other low-impact activities. 

Importance of staying active

Lack of regular activity leads to a sedentary lifestyle which is accompanied by loss of agility and stamina decline among other things. This can also result in the loss of muscle tone and require extra effort to get back into shape. Living a sedentary lifestyle can lead to some serious negative health outcomes such as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. 

When we stay active, we keep fit which feels good and helps to improve our quality of life. Maintaining fitness keeps all of our muscles and joints moving fluidly and helps to keep them from stiffening up. Keeping fit in turn helps to improve mobility which can minimize the risk of falling. 

Playing sports gives you a reason to get up and move if you need motivation. Playing sports is fun, it often creates a feeling of joy and youthfulness and brings back fond memories. Sport also offers opportunities for increased social interaction and mental stimulation. The comradery sport promotes whether you are playing on a team, or with new or old friends, creating a sense of belonging. While you are being active and having fun playing sports, it can help to elevate any feelings of sadness, depression, or isolation. 

While there are many benefits to staying physically active as we age, helping to ensure that we are able to get up and move around as we like could be one of the best benefits. For those that have retired, they now have more time to do all the things they once dreamed about. But if your mobility is hindered, exploring those options is likely to be somewhat limited.

Regular physical activity promotes balance and stability, ensures that muscle strength and agility are maintained, increases blood flow/circulation, helps you to sleep better, and social interaction stimulates your mind to promote both brain and mental health.

By keeping your body moving you are increasing the chances of staying healthy and strong as you age. However, the last thing anyone wants is to be injured, so be sure to pick activities that are appropriate for you. As your fitness improves, you may be able to look at doing more challenging activities. 

Variety is the spice of life

No one likes to do things that are not fun, being active should not be something that is seen as a boring chore. Try looking for activities that are fun and engaging that you would be happy to spend time doing. For many, sports can bridge the gap to make being active fun. 

Walking is the easiest exercise that almost anyone can do, for free, practically anywhere and at any time. This low-impact activity is easy on the joints and can be done at any pace. Nordic Walking is becoming fairly popular. This involves using trekking poles for added safety to expand into areas that you can traverse safely, particularly for those with mobility concerns, balance issues, and reduced vision. 

Swimming has been called the perfect exercise, as it engages the entire body. The water supports most of your body weight, reducing the pressure on your joints. There are a variety of water sports to choose from as well as water aerobics programs that will help to make you stronger and more agile while having fun.

Golfing is one of the most popular sports for seniors. You don’t need to be a pro to go out and get some exercise on the lush fairways, manicured greens, and relaxing waterways. Golf can be addicting, it can be expensive if you are not careful, and some people are really passionate about it. Along with exercise golf also has a big social aspect to it. Regardless of skill level, almost everyone enjoys an afternoon on a course immersing themselves in nature and unwinding.

Dancing is another great form of exercise that is fun. While you are enjoying the music, kicking your heels, and swaying to the beat you are helping your body to remain fluid. Whether it is ballroom dancing, line dancing, salsa, ballet, or tap dancing, the important thing is that you have fun, and you are doing it because you want to. You can make dancing more aerobic by trying out a Zumba class, or some other type of dance class. 

Bowling is another fun activity that is available in a 5 or 10-pin variety, the difference being that 5-pin uses smaller and lighter balls. You can even make this a bit more adventurous by trying Neon bowling which is done in darkened alleys and is a little more challenging. You could even consider joining a league and really gain from the social aspect. Lawn bowling is another fun and relatively low-impact form of this sport that comes with the benefits of being outdoors.

Bocce Ball is another excellent way to spend some time outdoors having fun. It is easy to learn, and while you can play it alone it is much more fun with other people. 

Croquet is a timeless game, and it is not as easy as it looks. This game is low-impact and also has great opportunities to be social. Some areas also have leagues and international tournaments that have helped this game remain popular since the 13th century.

For those of us who love tennis, ping-pong, and badminton, a hybrid of these has been created called Pickleball. This ball and net game however is played at a slower pace and on a smaller court. Pickleball can be played as singles or doubles, and it is available at many recreation centers for anyone interested in trying out this very popular fun sport.

Finding something you enjoy is key to keeping active and staying healthy

We all tend to slow down with age, which is why it is so important to stay fit and physically active. Most of us understand that we need to be active, but we think it will be boring. Playing sports is one of the ways to make sure that it is fun, and regardless of fitness level, there is something for everyone. 

The important part is to find something that you enjoy, it could even be more than one activity to keep it interesting. You could walk in the park one day, go for a bike ride down a trail on another, and join a water dance class on the weekend. Really, there are so many fun options waiting for you to explore. 

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Content may be edited for style and length.

References/Sources/Materials provided by:

Tamsyn Webber at WHN

WorldHealth Videos