Exercise is so important for seniors. We hear it over and over, but it is important to take it to heart. Group sports and exercise regimes provide the opportunity for seniors to socialize, in addition to their numerous physical benefits like improved cardiovascular health and joint resilience.
Water sports and exercises are a great alternative to sports played on the hard ground. For one, they are low-impact. Low-impact means that the water buttresses your weight and takes the pressure off your joints. Another benefit of playing and exercising in the water is the natural resistance the water provides, which increases your endurance while you’re just having fun in the sun with your pals.
Here are four water sports you must try.
Water aerobics is less of a sport and more of an exercise, but it has enough of a cult following that it bears mentioning here. And there’s a good reason that water aerobics has the avid fanbase that it does!
Water aerobics is not only a means for seniors to enjoy water sports safely while strengthening their muscles and respiratory systems. Water aerobics also provide younger people an opportunity to gain those same benefits without straining their joints, because water aerobics is a low-impact exercise.
The benefits of water aerobics don’t end there. While you’re reinforcing muscle, you’re also building up your endurance. Though water takes the pressure off your joints, it provides enough natural resistance that you will get better each and every time you participate.
It’s important for seniors to get enough exercise, especially in the cases of those seniors suffering from joint pain. Water aerobics is a fun and easy way to do just that without compounding any existing joint problems. There are plenty of different types of classes for all skill levels, so don’t feel shy about jumping on in. The water’s fine!
When it comes to sports suitable for the senior set, paddle boarding doesn’t seem like an obvious contender. First, it’s not a widely known sport. Most people who end up converting to the cult of paddle boarding haven’t even heard of the sport before their initiation. Second, it doesn’t seem natural to ask seniors to stand for long stretches as a means of improving health. Third, how do you even start paddle boarding, anyway?
There is a lot to love about this underappreciated sport. Paddle boarders enjoy the intrinsic beauty of nature while getting an easy, endurance-based workout. The heart and soul of the sport is balance and resolve, respectively. Paddle boarders stand on a board and steer their oar across a body of water. They navigate carefully while maintaining their stature the entire time and enjoying the view.
To get into paddle boarding, all you need to do is visit a paddle board websites, get a board, and then head to your nearest body of water. And just like that, you’re a paddle boarder!
Water jogging seems pretty self-explanatory, but hear me out! There are entire groups based around water jogging, in the same vein of water aerobics. There is less structure in water jogging than in water aerobics, however. While they both improve cardio, endurance, and muscle strength, water jogging is heavily focused on strengthening a participant’s cardiovascular system.
Water jogging typically takes place in the deep end of a pool. Most water joggers use floatation devices. Joggers will also sometimes strap on some weight bands to their ankles or wrists to up the ante, and then they get moving in classic jogging form.
This sport is best suited for the serious contender, intent on weight loss or general self-improvement, and not interested in much socialization. Sure, there are water jogging groups, but you’ll likely find a friendlier crowd amongst the water aerobics set. Water joggers are all business.
Water polo is an incredibly demanding sport. It asks a lot of participants. Players need to come mentally and physically prepared for the challenge. But if you’re over 50 and water aerobics just isn’t challenging you the way it once did, it’s time to look into water polo.
Water polo is essentially soccer played with smaller balls. There are two teams playing on either side of the net. Players use their hands to toss the ball into the other teams’ goal. Because of the natural resistance posed by the water, making efficient use of your energy is key to success.
Water polo is essentially a game of endurance. It tests players’ swimming skill as well as their ability to work in teams. If this sounds daunting to you, you’re not alone! There are plenty of introductory water polo leagues that will take you in with open arms. Nobody minds if you’re swimming in the shallow end of the pool! (There’s always the option to go pro later, after all.)