Ahhhh… retirement! Finally, all day every day is open and ready to be filled with whatever makes you happy. For some seniors, it’s the first time in decades that they have enough time to take up a sport and actually get good at it. While sports aren’t for everyone, there are many reasons, including staying sharp and in shape and even to meet new people with similar interests. Here are more good reasons people turn to a sport when they retire.
Many seniors leave the corporate world at the top of their game after years of climbing the ladder. Along with the accomplishment comes a keen competitive drive that doesn’t just evaporate once they retire. To fill that void, some turn to competitive sports, often one they always wanted to try, but never did, or one they played in younger years. For example, cycling is a great, low impact sport for seniors and one that they can start slowly in and improve over time, until they get good enough to compete. And for those in northern areas, keeping competitive in the winter is as easy as getting a stationary bicycle. Get the inside story from one cycling competitor in the NBC News report, “Competitive Cyclist, 70, Encourages Seniors to Stay Active.”
All for one, and one for all
When seniors retire, they often lose connections with former co-workers and feel a little lost. It takes time and energy to develop new friendships in retirement, but one quick and fun way is to join a team sport like softball. Senior softball teams are in every state across the nation and provide seniors with the opportunity to play a sport, get exercise and be a part of a team. Senior softball even has a competitive side with state, regional and world championships, which means there may be travel included in the package! Other senior team sports include track and field, tennis, swimming, basketball, volleyball, and racquetball, to name a few. For an idea of the options check out the website of the National Senior Games Association.
Wellness and well-being
Every sport, no matter how low key, is a form of exercise, not just for the body but for the mind as well. Taking up a sport is a commitment to a better life and offers the chance to reap the rewards of wellness and well-being like being physically fit, maintaining muscle mass, getting more oxygen to the brain, using the mind to strategize, and just feeling good about leading an active life. No matter what sport one chooses, every senior has something great to gain to make them look and feel better. Find out more about the wellness connection in senior sports in the artofhealthyliving.com blog, “Sports and Seniors: The Health and Wellness Benefits.”
No gym required
Many seniors enjoy sports they can play right at home. Among the many choices are bocce ball, badminton, corn hole, and croquet, which can be played competitively, just for fun with other seniors, or with friends and family of all ages. All they require is a yard or open area and the equipment. Similarly, yoga, aerobics, walking, and running can be done just about anywhere that is safe and available. Of course, some sports also lend themselves to the group format such as in yoga studios or aerobics classes where seniors join with others to enjoy the workout indoors and out.
Mobility builds mobility
It’s a fact: the more you move, the more you can move. For seniors who have not remained active, the loss of muscle mass can quickly become apparent in loss of strength. Since many seniors want to keep moving, maintain balance and feel invigorated as long as possible, sports are the natural option. Anyone who has ever had to go through physical therapy to walk again after knee surgery understands just how important exercise is to getting and staying on track.
For example, the simple sport of walking can become unsafe for seniors with low muscle mass and a reduced sense of balance. But even frail seniors can benefit from walking exercises that help rebuild muscles and renew balance, thus protecting them from becoming totally immobile or taking a dangerous fall. Other benefits of walking include lowered blood pressure, decreased risk of heart disease and stroke, boosted energy levels, reduced anxiety, and more. For a look at how taking a walk can benefit seniors, check out the bethesdahealth.org article, “The Many Benefits of Walking for Seniors.”
As with all forms of exercise, seniors should always consult their physician before beginning any athletic endeavor to make sure they can enjoy it safely.
At North Chandler Place, our residents have plenty of opportunities to stay active and fit alone, with friends, and/or with assistance from our caring staff. Contact us today to find out more about the amenities and senior living options at North Chandler Place.