10 Best Sports for Seniors to Play

Written by James Fleming

Physical activity is important at any age, but as one gets older, there are even more reasons to keep the body moving. Studies have unquestionably linked regular exercise to a longer lifespan, proven to help prevent heart disease, dementia, obesity, and diabetes while postponing up to 40 other conditions. Not to mention that it can also be a lot of fun!

Look over the following list of sports and speak to your doctor about which ones ideally suit your current abilities.

  1. Swimming

If you suffer from arthritis or any type of joint inflammation, then swimming is as low impact as it gets. The weightless properties of the water will alleviate any pressure from your body while you still benefit from a full cardio workout. To really stretch those muscles and get your respiratory system busy, join in with some group activities, such as water aerobics, polo, and volleyball.

  1. Cycling

For those who struggle to run, cycling is a great low impact alternative with more advantages than just fast calorie burning. Cycling is also a popular method of transportation which will save you money while also lowering your carbon footprint. What’s more, it can be very enjoyable to watch the scenery gliding past you, especially if you join a club and participate in group rides!

  1. Tennis

Whether you love a game of tennis or prefer variations such as squash, badminton, or ping-pong, this sporting activity is the perfect way to improve your balance and your eye-hand coordination while zapping those calories clean off. However, the fast-paced nature of this games does require quite an intense amount of running and jumping, meaning it’s not ideal for those with joint problems. That said, if you do feel a repetitive ache coming on, look at purchasing a brace or experiment with hot and cold therapy where you apply ice packs and heat pads in alternating temperatures.

  1. Golf

You may be thankful to know that even a casual round of golf can do wonders for your overall fitness. Your lungs will appreciate the fresh air, your arms will strengthen from your swing, your brain will provide its deepest puzzle-solving skills, and you will be on your feet for an extended period of time, occasionally even walking uphill. Best of all, with your muscles stretching and your core activating, you’ll be having so much fun that you won’t even notice that you’re exercising whatsoever.

  1. Walking

Simple yet effective, some reports claim that you can get all the physical exercise you need from just 10 – 20 minutes of walking a day. Your blood flow will increase and you will shed those excess pounds without placing too much strain on your joints and ligaments. Furthermore, the fresh oxygen and beauty of the outside world are famous for increasing positive moods and clearing your cluttered thoughts right up.

  1. Dancing

If you’re going to exercise, you might as well have fun with it, right? Dancing is one of the most enjoyable ways to get a full body workout, so look out for senior classes in your area or watch online tutorials to develop this brand new skill. Your energy levels will rise, your memory will be tested to recall certain steps, and you’ll impress your friends next time you’re on the dancefloor!

  1. Lawn Bowling

This physical pastime is very popular in the retiree scene, and for good reason. The various clubs exclusively set up for seniors make for a very sociable gathering, using a bit of friendly competition to improve your balance and coordination.

  1. Tai Chi

By activating your muscles with the gentle movements of tai chi, your overall flexibility and agility will increase without threatening any joint pains or injuries. Furthermore, the mental discipline and breathing techniques required to perform this martial art will make a huge improvement to your mental state of mind too.

  1. Yoga

Yoga is another favorite form of exercise for many seniors because it ticks almost every health box without taxing the body too much whatsoever. Your core balance, muscle flexibility, and respiratory flow will all profit from the practice, while the relaxing meditative properties will help unwind a stressful mind. Look out for senior classes close to you and set out to discover your inner peace!

  1. Croquet

For a much lighter form of sporting pursuits, croquet is the perfect excuse to go outside and exercise at your own pace. This game may not be the most intense workout you’ve ever experienced, but the puzzle-solving focus required will definitely challenge your mental cogs while the social aspect should lift your spirits substantially. Even better is that this leisurely pastime can be performed in your own backyard!

A Reason to Get Out of Bed

Sometimes nothing feels better than lying safely tucked in bed under those snuggly warm covers. Peacefully content in the moment you savor a nirvana like freedom from all responsibility. Let the world run its course – you are having no part of it. And if you are one of those lucky retired folk you have the option to enjoy your down time for as long as you want. No job draws you away, no children require dressing, no time sensitive projects burden the calendar. In many ways it is a wonderful thing.

After five years adjusting to and learning to appreciate my retirement I savor my option to rise and shine or remain in place. The best thing about it is I am the decider. I need not get to it until I am good and ready. I do find it interesting that while “on the job” I typically struggled to get started in the morning. Perhaps it was what lay ahead that sucked the motivation right out of my bones. These days I find I am ready to go earlier and easier than ever. Even with nothing on the agenda I cannot resist the sunshine calling me to welcome the new day. Sleeping in these days means seven am. With so much out there I just want to get to it!

Not all retirements are the same. Retirees can find it challenging to get a move on when the new day rings in. With nothing that must be done they lack motivation to do anything. The responsibilities and recognition that came with the job are no more. In its place remains a void, an emptiness some find hard to fill. If your work identity defines who you are, what happens when you no longer have a job?

Now throw into the mix the effects of aging on body and psyche. A tiring yesterday can put a drag on today. Back and knees, neck and elbows – not all of our parts are necessarily excited about participating in a new dawn. Sometimes it takes extra effort to roll out of the sack. Sometimes it feels like just too much.

Why leave the safety and comfort of bed?

We have been watching an entertaining series called Alone where a group of ten people are dropped in the wilderness of Vancouver Island to survive on their own. As things become overwhelming participants tap out and are picked up by boat. The last one standing wins a cool half million dollars. For most of the numerous physical challenges such as bears, cougars, hunger, and cold, the survivors seem pretty well prepared. What ends up causing the most distress and eventually drives individuals to call it quits is the loneliness, the lack of companionship and specifically missing family.

As one season comes to an end the daughter of the winner suddenly appears on camera and sneaks up to surprise her dad. The intense hug that follows as the two silently embrace is a real tear jerker. If the participants learned nothing else each returned home with a new respect and appreciation for their spouse and family. I like to think they will carry these memories forever to help sustain the love they so missed while in the bush.

Getting out of bed is not always just about you. Think about all those who are impacted by what you say and do. Perhaps an aging parent waits in hopeful anticipation for your evening call. A daughter may benefit from your insights in regards to her current life situation. What of that solemn neighbor who lights up when he sees your smiling face. And what spouse wants to regularly find you still in bed after she/he has gotten under way.

I am a list person. As I tell my wife, if something gets on the list it gets done. Creating a list the night before might provide a little incentive to get up and start the next day. The contents do not have to be complex – just putting it in writing can help trigger action.

Sometimes all it takes is a little thing to inspire your start. If I am in the middle of a good book I am often ready to follow where the plot will take me. Changes in the season often require your attention in the garden or about the house. A jigsaw puzzle may call to you as its secret unfolds under your skilled hands.

Even if no specific chore or activity or inspiration requires your attention, starting with a positive outlook can kick you into gear. If you hope for good things to happen you are more inclined to launch the day. If your curiosity stirs to discover what may be around the bend you look forward to a new day. If you believe future moments might hold some special significance you may find yourself more anxious to get started.

I like to think each new day has new potential. How exactly that will look I cannot guess. But I know the best way to find out is to get outta bed and see for myself.


Four Best Yoga Poses for Seniors

Written by James Fleming

As they age, many seniors have a tendency to take on a more sedentary lifestyle.

Sometimes, this happens because of an illness or injury. But, other times, seniors simply don’t realize how much time they’re spending sitting or lying down once they retire and have fewer responsibilities to tend to.

Whatever their reason, it’s important for seniors to stay active in order to stay healthy and maintain their quality of life.

In addition to resistance training and cardiovascular exercizes like walking or swimming, older adults can benefit from yoga classes, which will help them improve their flexibility and balance and decrease their risk of injury.

There are many yoga classes available at gyms and senior centers that are geared toward older participants. But, if they’re not able to make it to these classes, seniors can also get just as much out of practicing yoga from the comfort of their own homes.

Listed below are four of the best yoga poses for seniors. These poses are all simple and easy to master without a lot of one-on-one instruction.

  1. Warrior II

Warrior II is a great pose for older adults, especially those who are beginners or who struggle with chronic hip or back pain.

To do this pose, start by standing up straight at the top of your yoga mat. Take a big step back with your left foot, so your feet are about three feet apart and your hips are in line with the side of your mat. Rotate your right foot so that it’s facing forward, then turn your left foot so that it’s parallel with the edge of your mat.

When you feel stable in this position, bend your right knee so you’re in a lunge (don’t let your knee extend past your toes) and extend your arms to the sides to form a “T” shape. Turn your head so you’re gazing over your right fingertips.

Hold for 3-5 breaths, then switch sides.

  1. Tree Pose

Tree pose is a great pose for seniors who need to work on their balance and want to prevent falls.

To do tree pose correctly, start by standing up straight at the top of your yoga mat with your feet together. Slowly shift your weight to your left foot and lift your right foot off the ground. Bend your right knee and bring your foot to the inside of the left leg, letting it rest on your inner ankle, calf, or your inner thigh (don’t put it directly on the side of your knee).

Raise your arms overhead with your palms facing inward. Hold for 3-5 breaths, then switch sides.

It’s easy to modify this pose by holding onto a chair or the wall if you need extra support.

  1. Bridge

Bridge pose is a good option for seniors who want to strengthen their hips and lower back to minimize pain and improve mobility.

To do this pose, start by lying on your back with your feet on the floor, about hip-distance apart. The knees should be bent and the feet should be in line with them, while your arms are flat on the floor at your sides.

Inhale and press your hands down into the floor, then, as you exhale, press down with your feet and lift your hips off the ground. Try to make your body form a straight line from knees to head — don’t let your back arch too much. Hold for 3-5 breaths, then lower yourself back down.

  1. Legs Up the Wall

This is a great restorative post and is perfect for relaxing at the end of a long day. It can also help improve circulation.

Start by sitting with one side of your body against the wall. Then, lower down to the floor and swing your legs up so they’re flat against the wall and perpendicular to the floor.

If you lack the flexibility to get your legs flat on the wall, shift your body back and bend your knees slightly.

Keep your arms to your sides and hold the pose, breathing deeply for 5-10 breaths. Then, slowly swing your legs to the side to bring them away from the wall.