In this article, we’ll explore the 5 Best Sports for Seniors. Having crossed the 60-year mark, many people mistakenly believe that sports at their age are too dangerous and are content only with leisurely walks in a nearby park. Doctors are unanimous in their opinion about the importance of sports for people of any age.
An active lifestyle and regular sports will energize you, let you forget about chronic diseases, strengthen your immune system and slow down the aging process. But experts warn that the wrong type of physical activity can be harmful.
With MedAboutMe, we figure out what Best sports for seniors to do at the age of 60+.
As a result of a 14-year study, Canadian scientists were able to prove that regular exercise contributes to the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. In the group of people who remain physically active after 50 years, 2 times fewer cases of developing Alzheimer’s disease were recorded compared to those who led a sedentary lifestyle.
Swimming is a good aerobic physical activity for the elderly. In water, the human body weighs less, respectively, while swimming, the joints and ligaments do not experience heavy loads. At the same time, training in the pool has many advantages:
- cheer up and energize;
- improve sleep;
- excellent coordination training;
- contribute to an increase in bone density;
- strengthen blood vessels and improve blood circulation;
- develop the respiratory system.
Despite the fact that there are practically no contraindications for swimming in old age, it is still worth getting the approval of your therapist before starting training. Therefore, Swimming is one of the best sports for seniors.
A recent study showed that recreational swimming has a positive effect on the body with arthritis. After regular exercise in the pool, 60% of the respondents noted a decrease in arthritis pain.
2. Nordic Walking:
Nordic walking (Finnish, Nordic) is a special type of recreational physical education, reminiscent of a regular walk, only at a special pace and with modified ski poles in hand. The emphasis on two sticks provides additional stability, thanks to which the risk of injury is minimized.
Nordic walking has several advantages over a regular walk:
- the load on the joints is reduced due to the support on the arms and legs;
- improves coordination of movements;
- there is an opening of the chest due to wide swings of the arms.
Doctors approve this type of physical activity in older people in almost all cases. The only exceptions are pulmonary insufficiency, thrombophlebitis, and severe diabetes mellitus.
To practice Nordic walking, you do not need to buy expensive equipment or spend money on a gym membership. Special sticks and sneakers – that’s all. And for classes, the nearest park, river embankment or sports ground near the house is suitable. So, it is the best sports for seniors.
3. Chinese Gymnastics Qigong:
Qigong combines breathing and movement exercises aimed at resuming the flow of energy in the human body. The movements in qigong are very smooth, reminiscent of a slow dance and are easily given to older people.
There are no contraindications to training, you can also start classes without any physical preparation. Through regular practice, the following positive effects are achieved:
- strengthening the stabilizing muscles responsible for maintaining the balance so necessary for aged people;
- stretching of muscles and tendons, which is an excellent prevention of domestic injuries;
- development of attention and concentration. During gymnastics, you need to constantly
- concentrate on your breathing and movements, which has a positive effect on brain function;
- stress relief and stabilization of the emotional background.
- improved flexibility of the spine.
The form in which we now know qigong gymnastics, it came from the 50s of the XX century. The founder of modern exercises is called the young Chinese Liu Gui Zheng, who was recognized as hopelessly ill but was able to recover thanks to regular practices.
Gymnastics does not require any sports equipment. It is enough to purchase comfortable clothes that do not hinder movement. Most often, even though shoes are not needed, many masters practice qigong barefoot. That’s why it is the best sports for seniors.
Pilates is a unique set of physical exercises developed on the basis of yoga, gymnastics, and martial arts. The long-term practice has proven the high effectiveness of Pilates training for people of any age, including extremely old age.
With Pilates, you can achieve the following results:
- restore confidence in movements;
- improve blood flow;
- relieve tension in the body;
- strengthen joints;
- tighten the muscle corset;
- reduce the pain of the musculoskeletal system and return the joy of life.
All movements in Pilates are performed slowly, without jerking and straining, which is extremely important for an elderly person. You can practice on your own at home. But the best option would be group training, which will not only help to cope with the lack of communication but also allow you to gradually increase the load thanks to additional equipment.
The practice of yoga for many centuries allows people to maintain their bodies and spirit in a safe condition. It doesn’t matter at what age you start exercising.
Unlike other types of physical exercises, yoga benefits not only physical health (normalizes sleep, stretches the spine, and improves heart function), but also increases the level of mental balance. In old age, it is very important to be able to cope with stress and to be in harmony with yourself and the world around you. Yoga is the best sports for seniors according to experts.
Despite the undoubted health benefits, yoga should be practiced with caution in old age (and some asanas should be excluded completely) in the presence of the following diseases:
- hypertension grade 3;
- intervertebral hernia;
- problems with knee joints.
Older people should start yoga classes under the supervision of an experienced instructor who will take into account the specifics of such training. Having received basic knowledge, you can practice yoga at home.
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