Senior Center

Keeping Active in Your Golden Years

By Jan Bolder - November 15, 2013

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As seniors get older, keeping physically active takes on increased importance: not only does it help the body heal, but it can help prevent injuries and falls. But as seniors get older, they have to take into account their abilities and limitations, and keep active accordingly.

1. Yoga

This gentle stretching exercise is easy on the joints, with yoga helping immensely to combat stress, fatigue, aches, pains and problems with flexibility. Not being able to twist yourself into a pretzel or sit in Lotus position doesn't matter, as yoga can be modified to suit any body type and ability level. Since yoga focuses on strengthening the core and improving balance, seniors can expect to see improvement with in those areas, helping to alleviate fall-related injuries.

2. Swimming

For seniors who experience problems with their joints, getting into the pool can be one of the best forms of exercise. The heat helps warm and relax muscles, making them more open to movements, while the buoyancy of the water makes swimming exercises impact-free and easy on the joints. Both of these factors help seniors achieve more in terms of exercise goals than they would on dry land, enabling them to push themselves further and retain good physical health.

3. Tennis

For the spryer and more physically-minded seniors, playing tennis in either singles or pairs helps them keep them in good physical and social health. Many tennis centers offer time specifically for seniors, letting them enjoy the court at their own pace and schedule. Tennis can be hard on the joints, though, so a checkup with a doctor beforehand is important to determine whether or not the sport can be played safely.

4. Lawn Bowling

What may initially seem like a cliche activity is, upon closer inspection, an ideal way for seniors to keep fit well into their later years. The sport, played on artificial turf for added balance and evenness, is gentle on the joints and can be played either indoors or outdoors, weather permitting. The team aspect of it also adds socializing, critical for seniors to combat loneliness, isolation and depression- all common afflictions for the elderly.

5. Golf

Like tennis, golf can be hard on the joints, as driving the ball requires a great deal of power and exertion from the core. However, it's one of the few games where people get better with it as they age, as golf is mentally challenging. Having the wisdom and patience that can come with age can go great with golf, giving seniors an edge over their younger counterparts.