10 Sports to Take Up After Age 50
Sports for older adults are easy on the joints and good for the bones. And the best ones are enjoyable and require no membership.
Physical activity grows more important as you age, but there is a stigma that there are no sports for older people. The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control recommends multicomponent physical activities that could reduce injuries from falling. These would include aerobic exercises that improve your strength and balance.
Sports are for everyone of all ages. Continue scrolling for some you may enjoy.
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Sports for 50-Year-Olds | Balance, Muscle-Building, and Relaxing Exercises You Can Enjoy
Mind-Body Sports for Older Adults
1. Tai Chi
Tai Chi is a mindfulness exercise best summarized as meditation in motion. It involves slow, low-impact series of moves that may help improve strength, flexibility, and balance.
But what if you have a sedentary lifestyle or aren’t keen on sports? Then scientists think tai chi may be for you.
One study found that older adults that practiced tai chi had better physical control and improved well-being. More importantly, they were motivated to continue exercising.
Another study found that tai chi may also be a beneficial form of aerobic exercise, especially for older adults with sedentary lifestyles.
You may search for a community online that practices yoga in a park. You might also benefit from the fresh air and sense of community. If you prefer to stay at home, you may also look for videos online.
Do you have a tense mind and body? This mind-body practice may help you ease your stress and improve your physical ability.
Yoga is a marriage of meditation and physical activity. It incorporates breathing techniques and physical poses to promote physical and mental wellness.
Mindfulness practices like tai chi and yoga may help:
- manage stress, depression, insomnia
- boost heart health
- improve balance, stability
- reduce chronic pain
- better the mood and quality of life with heart conditions, cancer, and other chronic diseases
- motivate you to eat healthier and exercise more
Some studies found that yoga could lighten the fear of falling and improve the balance of older adults.
Browse the web for instructional yoga videos. If you’re experiencing muscle pain, you may even find routines that target specific areas.
Dedicate a quiet corner of your room for yoga. Lay a clean mat, and perhaps a scented candle will help enhance the mood.
Outdoor Sports for Older Adults
3. Walking Sports for Older Adults
Walking is the easiest bit of physical activity you can introduce to your daily life. It costs nothing, safe, and doesn’t require equipment—except for a good pair of walking shoes.
Walking quickly for at least 150 minutes a week could help you:
- prevent weight gain
- reduce the risk of heart attack, diabetes, etc.
- improve heart health (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar)
- improve emotional and mental well-being
- reduce the risk of depression
- improve memory
- lower risk of dementia
- strengthen your bones
Start the day right with a morning stroll—your pooch will also thank you for it. In fact, research shows that dog walking could be a motivator for owners to get more physical activity.
Explore brisk walking or Nordic walking. Both sports involve a faster pace that could get you a more vigorous workout.
Walk around the house more if you think you’ve made a permanent dent on the couch. Simple lifestyle choices like talking the stairs instead of the escalator could also keep you fit. If you live a sedentary lifestyle, a fitness tracker could help remind you to get up and move more.
4. Swimming or Water Aerobics
Water is often called the source of life—and science backs it up.
You may get more out of swimming, water aerobics, or water walking than walking or running.
A study of over 40,000 people found that swimmers have lower all-cause mortality rates than walkers, runners, and those with sedentary lifestyles.
Swimming is a total body workout that will engage most muscle groups. To activate a particular set of muscles, you may want to practice different strokes such as:
Swimming or water aerobics are sports that of all ages and different fitness levels can enjoy and benefit from. Water aerobics give you moderate-intensity exercise, while swimming laps offer vigorous-intensity workouts.
Water aerobics could be an activity you can enjoy with your friends. Centers typically offer group sessions guided by an instructor.
If you’re competitive, swimming laps might give you the thrill and motivation to practice regularly. The best sports for older adults are the ones you can enjoy, whether alone or with a team.
Exchange your four-wheel drive for a two-wheel one. Choosing leg power over horsepower could boost muscle strength, power, and some functional abilities.
More and more evidence says that older adults could benefit from high-velocity exercises, such as cycling, to improve their endurance. Because we use these movements in more daily activities, researchers stress the importance of this exercise.
Cycling may potentially help older adults cross the road quickly and prevent injuries due to falls.
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6. Tennis or Badminton
You could have been a Federer or Williams in your hay day, but it’s not too late to try your hand at tennis or badminton.
Spending time on the court may help keep age-related sarcopenia at bay. Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass and function mostly seen in older adults.
One study found that tennis may:
- boost aerobic capacity
- improve bone density
- reduce body fat
- increase strength
- less diminished cognitive function compared to less active adults
Doubles tennis passes as a moderate-intensity workout while playing singles is a more relaxed pace with vigorous intensity.
Bring a friend or your spouse to the local fitness center. Participating in a team sport may bring you a new friend in addition to a healthier physique.
Soccer is a vigorous-intensity sport that could literally get the ball rolling on your fitness journey.
The team sport is a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise that keeps the body moving constantly. Just one game a week will fill your exercise requirement—and the sport won’t feel like a chore.
It’s a multicomponent sport that will get your heart, bones, and muscles a workout.
A sports researcher found that whether you’re playing recreationally or doing drills, soccer may help:
- reduced blood pressure
- reduce cholesterol
- trim fat
- build lean muscle
Another researcher states that the health benefits for beginners are similar to those that have been playing for years. And these beginners could be up to 80 years of age.
This goes to show that when it comes to sports it’s never too early or too late. What matters is that you start.
Recreational Sports for Older Adults
Exchange your reps for steps—dancing counts as moderate-intensity exercise and a thrilling new hobby. It’s never too late to dance in the rain or unleash your inner Patrick Swayze.
Express your zest for life with a few tango or ballroom dancing moves. Get the blood pumping with aerobic dancing or Zumba in your local fitness center.
Studies found that dancing could significantly improve strength, balance, and endurance in older adults. There are also different types of dances that could cater to a wide range of physical conditions.
For older adults that may struggle with quick-paced steps, Tai Chi is a safe and healthful alternative.
9. Fishing and Hunting
Fishing and hunting get you outdoors, trekking and hiking in the wilderness, and getting much-needed exercise. Being outdoors regularly could break your sedentary lifestyle, and hopefully introduce a more active one.
Your hobby gets the stamp of moderate-intensity exercise from the American Heart Association.
A study suggests that two hours in nature could improve your health and mental well-being. Being in nature may be a healing activity that brings about a more positive outlook.
Hitting two birds with one stone, fishing could also get you healthful food on the table.
Another sport that could get you out on the green—golf.
A study found that just the walking component in a golf game boosted aerobic performance and reduced waist circumference. The game also comes with heart-healthy benefits such as higher good cholesterol.
This means that when you’re playing golf, spend less time on your feet than in the golf cart. For those that find walking tedious, the excitement from this competitive sport could be motivation to get off the couch.
Golf offers a means to relieve stress and regular exercise. It’s safe, has a lower risk of injury, and something you can play regularly.
Sports for Older Adults | Is It Safe?
Yes. What’s more dangerous to older adults is being inactive.
Physical inactivity could pose a risk to your physical and mental health. Physical activities for older adults focus on balance and strength-building, and some healthy competition doesn’t hurt either. Whether you like solo sports or team play, we have something on this list for you.
Yoga, tai chi, and golf could be muscle-building sports for seniors. If you have physical conditions, ask your doctor for recommendations.
The best sports for 50-year-olds—the ones you can practice regularly.
Check out these quick and easy strength and balance exercises you can do at home:
Whichever sport you decide on, it’s more important to get moving! Some friendly competition from team sports might motivate you to practice regularly. Even solo sports could offer a community that could satisfy your social cravings.
A few items on this list require only a few lifestyle changes—no membership fee needed. Take a walk or your bike out for a spin instead of taking your car. And walking the dog is just what the doc ordered.
Did any of the sports for older adults strike your fancy? Let us know how you’re staying fit in the comments section below.
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