Activities to Keep Older Folks Fit!
As we get older it is vital that we continue to look after our health and fitness. If we take care of our bodies now we are preparing ourselves for good health when we reach old age. We may find that we are unable to play some of the sports we enjoyed in our youth, but there are still plenty of sports out there which will help us maintain our fitness as we age.
Swimming is one of the great exercises for older people. It can help you improve your mood and control your weight as well as helping prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes, strokes and heart disease. It is low impact so there is less stress on your muscles and joints than in other sports. Also, the natural resistance provided by the water helps build and tone muscle mass while improving flexibility. Most importantly it is great aerobic exercise. It increase lung capacity and strengthens your heart, helping it to increase blood flow through your body as well as helping lower cholesterol.
Although it often seen as a slow paced leisure pursuit, playing golf regularly can greatly improve your health. It is perfect for people who are approaching later life and finding themselves with more time on their hands. On average, playing golf means you will walk between 4 and 8 miles per round. Proving you don’t take the lazy option of a golf cart, you can burn approximately 1400 calories as well as boosting your heart and lungs by walking an 18 hole course. Even an hour at the driving range you can burn through 200 calories. Choosing to carry your own clubs is very good for your bones. Bearing the weight of your clubs creates a lean muscle mass which can help prevent bone deterioration and osteoporosis. Golf is also a great stress-buster as businessmen around the world will testify.
Cycling is now one of the most popular participation sports in the world. Whether you want to cycle competitively or simply for fun, the health benefits are numerous. Cycling is accessible, affordable and doesn’t require a great deal of skill. It is great for building stamina as journeys can be increased incrementally without a great deal of effort. Another low impact sport, it is excellent for improving mobility in the lower half of your body. The main benefits though are increasing cardiovascular capabilities and building muscle. There is also a sense of freedom we get from heading out into the great outdoors. This can be great for relieving stress and helping us forget any problems we may be facing while considerably boosting your immune system.
There are many health and fitness benefits to playing squash. It is a high intensity sport with little recovery time so it is excellent in helping us lose weight. Players are thought to burn over 500 calories in a 30 minute match. Matches are fast paced and great for improving flexibility, agility and sprint speed while giving a full cardiovascular workout. Also, it exercises both the legs and arms, increasing strength and power. As well as the physical benefits, it is a sport that requires a great deal of mental agility. It has been said that players become so absorbed in the match that they don’t realize how hard they are exercising.The rigors of a long rally demand that you maintain focus and concentration. Tactics and shot selection are a big part of the game and you will get a mental workout as well as a physical challenge. There is also great emphasis on hand-eye co-ordination; something which deteriorates with age, but playing Squash is excellent for improving and maintaining these motor skills. By joining a squash league you will be able to play regularly and will have a pre set list of fixtures to be honored, thus eliminating the quest for motivation that afflicts us all.
Like squash, soccer is a high intensity sport which burns a lot of calories. The stop-start nature of soccer makes it, in essence, interval training with a ball. Focusing on short sprints and turns, you will improve your muscle strength and flexibility while increasing your heart rate. If you feel you are too old for 11 v 11 soccer a great alternative is 5 v 5. This is played on a smaller field and is actually more intense then it’s full sized counterpart as the ball is seldom out of play resulting in less recovery time (which we already know is great for helping us lose weight), but there are fewer injuries involved and games are shorter. It can also help build team spirit and boost your social life which in itself can benefit your mental health. If you are a Senior and are are looking for a gym, try Silver Sneakers.