Senior Center

Top Sports and Activities for Seniors

By Jan Bolder - February 4, 2014

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It's always important to stay active to ensure the body stays in as good condition as long as possible, but some seniors feel they may be too fragile to keep playing sports as they age. Here's a list of the top senior sports that are easy on the joints and still deliver a great workout.

Walking


One of the easiest activities to pick up at any age, walking is an extremely attractive option for seniors because they can do it completely at their own pace and sense of competitiveness, and they only need a pair of shoes. It's also a weight-bearing exercise, which helps out immensely with bone strength, and increases agility, spatial awareness, balance and strength.

Swimming


If seniors have joint problems or don't feel safe braving slippery and icy sidewalks, swimming is about as opposite from walking as a sport can get. It's completely non-weight bearing, and the warm temperature of the water facilitates flexibility and range of motion. The only downside is seniors have to be somewhat close to a pool, but that's not a huge unmotivating factor.

Dancing


One of the great things about dancing is it can be done anywhere, anytime, and performed with or without music or a partner. There are hundreds—if not thousands‐of different dance styles, and most of them can be modified to suit a senior's physical and comfort level to provide a safe, yet strenuous, workout.

Golf


Golf is a neat sport because there's no right or wrong way to play it, just whatever gives you pleasure. You can play as competitively as you like, or just while away the afternoon on the driving range. And along with improving core strength, musculature and flexibility, the chance to take out all your frustrations on a little white ball is hard to find elsewhere.

Pickle Ball


The game that's a combination of ping pong, badminton and tennis is rising in popularity because it's easy on the joints and fun to play. Participants use a large tennis-like paddle, play in a smaller court than tennis's, and use a net that's lower than badminton's, improving their balance, reflexes and agility.

Bocce


Bocce, or lawn bowling, is a popular and attractive sport to play because it's social, not too physically demanding, and can played indoors or out. It requires a bit more equipment and set-up than perhaps other sports for seniors but once the infrastructure's in place, it can be returned to easily and often.

Although seniors probably can't—or shouldn't—take part in sports like ski jumping or professional hockey, there are still plenty of sports that are just right for them.