One of the fascinating aspects about retirement is that your parents can do anything they didn’t have a chance to do earlier in life, when they were focused on raising a family, making ends meet and keeping up with their career.
Although retirement can leave seniors feeling like they are running out of time, this stage of life can be a perfect opportunity for them to create memories and add more vibrant experiences to their lives. In other words, retirement doesn’t have to be equivalent to the end of life. Instead, it can be a time to start living and enjoying life in ways that weren’t possible before.
Are you looking for new ways to help your parents enjoy their retirement years even more? Here are the top eight activities and sports that your parents will love.
MORE TO EXPLORE: 5 Reasons Why Swimming Is a Great Exercise For Seniors
Why Are Sports Important for Seniors?
Understandably, seniors often avoid engaging in sports activities due to their injury concerns. However, staying physically active is an excellent way to help them stay fit while also preventing a host of age-related health problems, such as stroke, heart disease, dementia, and some types of cancer. Participating in sports may:
- Reduce obesity risks
- Decrease risks of falls
- Have better sleep
- Improve bone density and prevent the development of osteoporosis
- Boost the immunity system
- Maintain strength and flexibility
- Reduce the risk of depression
- Maintain independent living
- Enhance cardiovascular health
- Manage weight
- Expand social connections
- Increase lifespan
So what are the most senior-friendly sports options to help your parents with outgrown shape get the energy and motivation to get up and move again? We have compiled a list of eight sports activities your seniors will enjoy alone and with their friends.
Walking is the most accessible sports activity that most seniors can do. In addition to being an excellent, low-impact form of exercise for strengthening bones and preventing the risk of osteoporosis, walking is also good for heart health while allowing seniors to lead independent lives as long as possible.
Another perk of walking is it is safe and accessible, meaning your parents can take a stroll around the neighborhood at any time! To reap the benefits of walking, encourage them to walk for at least 30 minutes daily.
Depending on their physicality, your parents can leverage their walking by challenging themselves to walk upstairs or uphills. When taking a walk, remind them to dress in breathable clothes and comfortable footwear to ensure a smooth walking experience and reduce risks of injury.
Have your parents developed any joint issues and are still looking for an alternative sport to help them stay healthy? Water sports or aerobics is a fun and age-friendly solution that gives seniors a chance to stay active safely, with half as much pressure on their joints compared to other land-based sports.
Whether it is just swimming or aqua aerobics, your parents can ultimately enjoy the freedom of movement and get their blood pumping through various water exercises made for older bodies. Simultaneously, moving in the water can bring a lot of fun, especially if they have other seniors join in.
Badminton is one of the popular sports that anyone can play, from kids to grandparents. In contrast to tennis, which carries high risks of injury due to an extensive range of swift movements, badminton is an excellent choice for your parents since this type of sport doesn’t have many rules to begin with. All they have to do is hit the shuttlecock to the opponent’s side while ensuring it doesn’t fly out of the court’s boundary lines.
Tai Chi or Yoga
Are you looking for stand-still sports activities with many remarkable health benefits? Despite the low intensity, yoga or taichi may be your parents’ best choice for maintaining strength and flexibility. Both types of activities are known to involve gentle movements, making them accessible to a majority of seniors.
Essentially, taichi and yoga are designed to help seniors remain active where their fragile joints and muscles are not fully stretched or bent. Instead, they allow your parents and other older family members to train their endurance and core muscles with less pressure on their overall body. Another perk of taichi is its effectiveness in maintaining balance in seniors, lowering their risks of falling or tripping as they age.
Yes, you have read it right! But the thing is, walking soccer is not as strenuous as regular soccer, though! Walking soccer is a lower-impact, less competitive version of soccer compared to traditional soccer.
As the name suggests, your parents can participate in the game by simply walking around and passing the ball to score goals. So what happens when someone runs? The rule states that the other team gets a free kick if an opposing team member breaks into a run.
According to estimates, a person playing walking soccer can log up to four to five miles, or nearly 10,000 steps. Therefore, it can improve various health aspects, such as increasing endurance, stamina, and strength. Additionally, the soccer field is a great place to stay socially connected and expand your parents’ circle of friends.
Since constantly getting up from a kneeling position may cause your parents to withdraw from the idea of gardening in their free time, introduce them to fishing instead. Generally, fishing is the ultimate solution for your parents to disconnect their minds from intrusive thoughts and prolonged isolation.
When fishing, the beauty of nature and the water can help them release stress and evoke feelings of joy and happiness. If your parents are avid fishing fans, help them find an ideal spot and get started immediately!
MORE TO EXPLORE: 6 Amazing Health Benefits of Gardening for Seniors and Caregivers
Cycling is another low-impact exercise that puts less strain on seniors’ overall bodies, making it the best option to stay fit and healthy as they age. When hopping on the bike, your parents will be put in a better mood by combining vitamin D and breeze, which is known to boost the happy hormone serotonin in the body.
According to a study, cycling is found to lower mortality risk by more than 40% and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer by 45%. The loss of muscle mass and strength caused by limited mobility is one common issue that numerous seniors often run into as they age. As a result, cycling allows your parents and older family members to stay physically young.
Before rolling your eyes and thinking that golf might not be suitable for aging bodies, hear us out. Golf is a sport that offers a range of health benefits since it makes our entire body move, from walking across the court to swinging a golf club — all of these movements can gradually improve the body’s strength and flexibility.
If your parents are new to golf, remind them to begin moderate-intensity practice before advancing. In addition to being beneficial for the body and bone health, playing golf can positively change the mind by lowering anxiety and decreasing stress.
If you have questions about sports for seniors or any topics discussed here, connect with us and learn more.
At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks senior living communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.
For questions or to schedule a personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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