It’s Never Too Late: Sports Suitable for Seniors

Not all activities are equally safe for older people. Daily walking reduces the risk of heart failure, and intense running can trigger an angina attack.

To each his own sport

Sweden ranks first in the ranking of healthy people: there are more centenarians here than in other socially prosperous countries in Europe. Gerontologist Bartil Marklund has been studying this phenomenon for more than ten years and came to the conclusion that Swedish pensioners walk a lot and play sports. This is the whole secret.

The scientist noted that moderate exercise for the elderly and daily walks in the fresh air:

  • stimulate the production of “happiness hormones”;
  • reduces stress;
  • strengthen immunity;
  • improve joint mobility;
  • saturate the body with oxygen.

According to Marklund and his colleagues, there is no special training regimen for older people. Finding your sport is important. Zoya Marinich, a former scout and yogi, easily did a headstand at the age of 90. Long-lived Julia Hawkins at 101 participated in the sprint race and set a world record by running a hundred meters in 36 seconds. Both said in an interview that they found the sport that they enjoyed.

Seniors need to exercise for 150 minutes a week at a moderate pace to get the most benefit for the body.

The benefits of sports for the elderly

With age, metabolic processes slow down, a person becomes overweight. This is an additional burden on the heart, blood vessels, liver, limited joint mobility. Playing sports helps older people stay fit and keep their joints healthy.

Retirees sometimes complain of insomnia. Sports activities make it easier to fall asleep and improve the quality of sleep. Moderate exercise for the elderly improves blood circulation, has a beneficial effect on the state of the heart, brain activity and memory.

It has been proven that physically active pensioners retain a clear mind until old age. They are 50% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those who lead a sedentary lifestyle.

Best Sports for Seniors

You don’t have to be a sprinter or stand on your head for 10 minutes to experience the full benefits of physical activity. Doctors recommend retirees:

  • Swimming in the pool.
  • Table tennis.
  • Nordic walking.
  • Morning exercises.
  • Breathing exercises.
  • Terrencourt.
  • Darts.
  • Dancing.

1.     Swimming

Arthritis and osteochondrosis occur in every second pensioner. Swimming in the pool is the perfect sport. Water holds up to 90% of a swimmer’s weight. During training in water, all muscles are involved, the heart, lungs and circulatory system work intensively, supplying internal organs with oxygen.

Water relieves stress from diseased joints, but at the same time strengthens the press, arms, legs. Doctors recommend swimming in the pool to patients with diseases of the spine and limbs, during the rehabilitation period after fractures.

If the pensioner follows the safety rules, then the risk of injury in the pool is low. You can further protect yourself by taking out an insurance policy against sports injuries.

2.     Table tennis

It is one of the safest sports for seniors as there is no need to jump and move quickly across the court. The load on the spine, arms and legs is small, but constant, due to which they are strengthened. Other muscle groups are also trained.

Table tennis develops visual acuity and coordination of movements, as you need to constantly monitor the ball. With relative lightness and simplicity, it, like any aerobic exercise, is energy-intensive.

3.     Nordic walking

The popularity of Nordic walking among adults is growing every year. This is due to its availability, effectiveness and lack of contraindications. The emphasis on Nordic walking sticks relieves the load from the knee and hip joints, provides additional stability.

Scientists from the University of Iowa conducted a study and found that 15 minutes of Nordic walking a day prolong life by three years.

Regular Nordic walking classes:

  • normalize weight;
  • strengthen bones, back, joints;
  • saturate the blood with oxygen;
  • improve mood;
  • enhance immunity.

4.     Morning exercises

A ten-minute morning exercise keeps the joints mobile. The set of exercises includes:

  • head tilts;
  • head rotation;
  • flexion and extension of the hands;
  • flexion and extension of the arms at the elbows;
  • forearm rotations;
  • wave your hands;
  • “bicycle” or “scissors”;
  • foot rotation.

Daily simple exercise is an effective prevention of osteochondrosis and osteoporosis.

5.     Breathing exercises

Bodyflex is a type of yoga. All adults can practice it, unlike complex asanas that require serious physical preparation. Breathing exercises:

  • normalizes blood supply to internal organs;
  • eliminates congestion;
  • reduces the likelihood of pneumonia, intercostal neuralgia;
  • helps with ENT diseases;
  • facilitates the course of endocrine pathologies.

Breathing exercises are performed in static positions and in dynamics, combined with walking in the fresh air or on the spot. Bodyflex is done on an empty stomach or 40-60 minutes after eating on the street or in a pre-ventilated room. The recommended duration of training in old age is from 7-10 minutes to 30 minutes.

6.     Terrenkur

Terrenkur and Nordic walking are similar, but paths for terrenkur are laid through mountainous terrain. The length, angle of elevation and length of the segments vary. This allows you to individually select the load for each person.

Paths for terrenkur are equipped in parks, forest belts, in other environmentally friendly places away from polluted highways. The health path is also included in the programs of sanatorium-and-spa treatment. Its healing effect is based on dosed physical activity in combination with air temperature and its oxygen saturation. These walks:

  • develop endurance;
  • improve the condition of the respiratory system;
  • accelerate metabolic processes;
  • relieve nervous tension;
  • train the muscles of the arms, legs, torso.

7.     Darts

Throwing darts at a target is more of a game than a sport. Pensioners in Great Britain, Canada, Australia, USA play darts with pleasure and benefit for themselves. So they relax, splash out aggression, relieve stress.

The game develops hand-eye coordination, because the dart must be held firmly with your fingers and aimed accurately. It is also a training for the brain, the development of discipline and self-control, including control over the body. A person does not notice how he changes position, leans forward, straightens, turns. During the game, he performs 300-500 such movements, and this is a full-fledged workout.

8.     Dancing

Dancing is a leisure activity useful for physical and mental health at any age. The best dance for seniors is a classic waltz with smooth and light movements, a clear and understandable dance structure. In the category of energetic dances, Argentine tango is in the lead, and in the direction of “Dance fitness” – zumba.

There are singles and couples’ dances adapted for the elderly. They do not have sharp turns of the body and rapid turns of the head, active movements of the legs, and other traumatic elements.

Safety is paramount. Seniors must warm up before training: warm up the muscles and prepare the body for the next load. Better warm-up than pills.

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