Old age is the second innings of life which has to be played with all joys and fun. While some of the seniors cut off them completely from any kind of physical activity fearing pains and illness, there are hardly few of the 50+ who participate in sports activities without any fear.
Sports is not limited to the youth, even the WHO has cited in their article on recommended levels of physical activity for adults aged 65+ that, in order to improve the overall health and to stay fit, older adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week because as we get older, our muscles, tendons and ligaments start losing their elasticity, reducing our mobility and making these areas more prone to injuries, which takes longer to recover in old age.
So, here’s the list of sports for the elderly that are safe, beneficial and enjoyable. Go Sports!
Playing court sports like tennis or badminton is said to be a good exercise for both body and brain. They keep the muscles active and joints flexible. It is best for reducing the risk of high blood pressure and heart conditions. If you want to go outdoors, various clubs offer their light versions indoors which you can go for. However, if your joints give your trouble while playing or you fear to get your muscle sprained, wear a brace to prevent injury.
The weightless property of the water work best to alleviate any pressure from the body and hence swimming and other water activities like water aerobics, polo, and volleyball prove to be perfect sports for ageing joints. Swimming improves the cardiovascular health of seniors and is apt for those struggling with arthritis as the water take up to 90% of the body’s weight, means you will feel less painful movements.
If running or moving is too hard for you, join a club and start golfing. With not much of hardcore physical activity, a game of golf is actually a good sport for the senior citizens. A good walk on the golf ground along with fresh air and greenery around, a strike of golf provides you with a great brain and body workout. The twists and turns in it will strengthen your muscles as well as make them flexible enough for an active old age.
An evergreen sport that is loved by people of all ages is Cycling. A few minutes of pedalling every day will keep your muscles and joints oiled and flexible. Apart from that, cycling is the best stress buster. It also raises the heart rate and promotes mental health, it keeps you in good shape and reduces the risk of chronic illnesses. To add more, cycling daily is also good for our environment. Gather your family and friends or join a club to make it more enjoyable. Remember to wear a helmet and knee pads as a safety measure.
Participating in some sports activities in old age reduces the risk of developing various chronic illnesses and disabling conditions and will make you physically and mentally active. It will also help you in maintaining the ability to live independently and will prevent you from falling into the trap of anxiety and depression.
Senior citizens are prone to injuries like strains and spasms. Hence to avoid any kind of sports injuries, follow these tips before getting started:
• Get a basic medical screening done before starting with a new sport. Talk to your doctor and then go for it.
• Don’t go overboard. Keep it slow and regular.
• Warm up before and cool down after any physical activity
• Avoid sports competitions and violent efforts.
• Carry appropriate equipment like a helmet, safety pads, clothes, footwear etc, of the sports with you to stay safe.
• Listen to your body, change the activity or stop when necessary.
• Keep your medicines, sprays and electrotherapy devices handy as a treatment for any sports-related injuries.
• Seek medical help if an injury is beyond your limits.
Old age doesn’t mean you have to spend your life sitting or lying. In fact, the more you stay active, the better your body will age. Get up and find your favourite hobby, take it slow and steady and have a happy and healthy ageing.