Playing a sport after age 50? All the doctors will tell you: it’s a great idea. Provided that you remain cautious and favour safe activities, because the bodies of older people no longer respond as well to the demands of physical effort. To help you choose, here is a list of the 5 best sports for seniors!
SENIORS: CHOOSE YOUR SPORT CAREFULLY!
After 50 years, not all sports activities are good anymore. The body weakens, muscle mass is reduced, the cardiovascular system is no longer as strong as before, balance is disturbed and joints become trapped. In short, a senior’s organism is no longer what it used to be! This is why some physical activities are recommended, those that promote a long and low intensity effort. Others, more violent or more demanding, should be avoided to avoid any risk. Here is our selection of 5 ideal sports practices for seniors.
1. WALKING AND HIKING
The best sport for seniors is undoubtedly walking, as well as all its derivatives. A basic activity that can be done anywhere, walking can be adapted to most situations. It requires the whole body without brutality and prevents/slow down osteoporosis. Its more “sporty” version, the senior hike, has positive effects on the cardiorespiratory system, especially at altitudes above 1,500 metres. Unless she suffers from severe heart or respiratory failure, or advanced osteoarthritis of the lower joints (hips, knees), she is perfect for all seniors.
This is a very beneficial activity for seniors: all muscles and joints are involved, as well as the cardiovascular system. However, it is a matter of running at your own pace, without forcing, and with a focus on endurance rather than performance. However, severe coronary and respiratory disorders and severe arthrosis of the knee or hip prohibit the practice.
In the list of the best sports for seniors, cycling has a special place: good for blood circulation, breathing, muscle coordination, balance, and of course for the heart. On a bike, you are less sensitive to body weight, which can be a significant advantage. Be careful, however, in case of osteoarthritis of the knee.
4. GYMNASTICS AND OTHER GENTLE ACTIVITIES
The practice of senior gymnastics and its derivatives (yoga, tai chi, aquagym, etc.) is beneficial for the whole body: strengthening muscles, maintaining flexibility and balance, etc. It is also excellent for the mind, like all group activities, because it provides an opportunity for seniors to socialize and spend time together.
Swimming benefits both muscles (arms, legs, back) and respiratory capacities and motor coordination. By relieving body weight, it is ideal for people with osteoarthritis, and for sports after the age of 60 in all cases. It has only one contraindication: in case of angina pectoris, avoid sudden immersion in water that is too cold.
SOME TIPS FOR GOOD PRACTICE
Before you get into one of the best sports for seniors, it is important to keep in mind that playing sports at age 50 is not the same as playing sports at age 20 or 30. Thus, it is necessary:
– to carry out a medical check-up;
– to favour a gentle practice;
– to make small daily and regular efforts;
– to adapt your diet. Your doctor and associations can provide you with valuable advice in senior sports. Feel free to contact them!