last update January 1, 2021
Senior citizen sports? Is there such a thing?
And: They may be just the tonic we seniors are looking for.
Of course, there are many seniors that already have very physically active lives.
Retirement doesn’t mean that all of a sudden we stop doing everything. Especially enjoying our lives. On the contrary, it is a time when we finally have the time to pursue many of the things we always wanted to do.
And, now we have more time for activities we love, that we didn’t have time for before. And, time for things that we never even tried before. This includes all kinds of sports.
There are Senior Citizen Sports?
When we think of sports we often think of the games we played in high school. And the games we see on TV: Football, Soccer, Ice Skating, Basketball, Gymnastics….. Right?
But, that is not at all what we mean when we talk about Senior Citizen Sports.
I like how Science Daily describes sports:
“Sport (or sports) is all forms of usually competitive physical activity which, through casual or organized participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing entertainment to participants, and in some cases, spectators.”
“The GAISF (The Global Association of International Sports Federations) definition of sport says:
So, any physical activity that fits somewhere into these guidelines can be considered a sport.
And, there are LOTS of sports for senior citizens.
Senior Citizen Sports include, and are not limited to:
The list goes on and on.
Really? Aren’t sports just for the young?
Seniors and sports are a perfect combination. Now we’re not going to be trying out for the Olympics. No. We’re not taking up high jumping. Or, pole vaulting. Or, hockey.…
We are simply going to be getting outside and we are going to be enjoying the miracle of movement. We’re going to breathe some fresh air every day. We’re going to be enjoying how good movement makes us feel. We’re going to PLAY with others just like us. We’re going out to Have Some FUN. And, we’re going to get fitter in the process.
Here’s an interesting fact: Do you know that seniors who engage in sports after retirement usually become fitter than they have been for the past 10, 20, or 30 years? Yes. Really.
Because we have more time to indulge in sporting activities now.
Yes. Now that we have the time, we often become fitter than we have been for the past 30 years. And, science is showing we live longer too!
“…researchers recently noted that as little as 15 minutes of physical activity a day can boost your life span by three years.”
reference: “To Live Longer, Exercise Daily”, AARP
So many of us seniors are looking for other seniors to play with. Yes, to play with.
Play isn’t something just for children. No. It is an activity for the human soul. It is as necessary at 90 years of age as it is at 9.
Even if we are really terrible as athletes (and maybe have been our entire lives), senior citizen sports give us a chance to go out and play. With others just as terrible or just as good as we are.
Where can we find others to play with?
Did you know there are sports leagues just for seniors? In a sports league you play fun sports (that give us exercise) and a have a great new place for social interaction. Yes! We get to make a whole bunch of new friends.
The National Seniors Games Association is the largest association for Senior Sports Games in the world.
It is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping seniors live an
active vitality filled life. If you’re over 50, you can participate.
Last year there were over 12,000 attendees.
You don’t have to be an athlete. Or, a former athlete. You only have to have the desire to participate. That’s all.
Remember: There are leagues and teams for every senior at every level of ability.
Sports leagues for seniors are not new. It’s just that most of us didn’t even know they exist. Whatever athletic event you can think of, there is likely a senior sports league for you.
One of the nicest things is, with senior citizen sports leagues, we ALL just get to play together, have some friendly competition, and, enjoy the company of each other. No matter what our athletic ability level is.
Even if we never played before, there are others, just like us, who want to start playing with us.
Do you guys remember how much fun you had in Little League as kids? And, Ladies, did you ever play field hockey, or, tennis on a team in high school?
Well, why shouldn’t we have that same fun as seniors when senior citizen sports are so readily available?
Yes. Sports for elderly seniors is just as important and just as beneficial as sports are for the younger seniors.
But, as we reach advanced age, a lot of our body parts can be tired and a bit worn. It doesn’t mean you can’t engage in all sports. It just means you have to pick the right ones.
Often sports like croquet and Bocce Ball are ideal for elderly seniors.
* The safest way to find out what is and isn’t right for you is to check with your doctor. He will be able to correctly assess your physical condition and limitations and recommend the best senior citizen sports for you. Or, he may connect you with a professional who has expertise in choosing sports for elderly senior citizens.
Here’s a great little realized plus that comes with playing senior citizen sports: Everything Seems to Improve!
Take a look at some of the benefits of participating in these organizations include increased:
Let’s take a little look at each of these individually:
Increased Mental Vitality
“An active body is critical in maintaining an active vital mind. In fact, recent research suggests that making certain lifestyle changes can do more to ward off memory loss than any other treatments. Eating a balanced diet, and enjoying physical activity such as walks or group exercise classes is a key way to maximize brain function and improve overall vitality.”
Increased Emotional Well Being
"Senior citizen sports not only improve our physical vitality, they also improve our emotional well being."
Just sitting around watching TV and looking out the window waiting for someone to call makes us rot. Literally. Everything goes down the tubes and we become miserable.
“Use it or lose it.”
Remember that one?
It’s true. NOW, the good part about that saying here is this: We’re “using it” when we are playing senior citizen sports. We feel good, we have fun, everything improves in the process, and we get to make a whole lot of new friends.
Did you know, exercise, participating in senior citizen sports, is also linked to increasing longevity?
“The latest study backs up previous research suggesting that reducing time spent sedentary and replacing it even with light movement is beneficial. It says higher levels of any physical activity help ward off an early grave.”
It is important for elderly people, who might not be able to do much moderate-intensity activity, that just moving around and doing light-intensity activity will have strong effects and is beneficial,” said Ulf Ekelund, a professor and first author of the study at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences.”
Increased Weight Control
And, another plus for senior citizen sports that most of us will appreciate is: Weight Control.
I don’t know about you, but I love this one. Getting slimmer while having fun. It doesn’t get any better.
How many years have we spent complaining about our weight?
Senior citizen sports help with weight control. We ALL know how we’ve widened out. Even eating less. The older we get, the more weight just seems to like to stick. Right?
Senior citizen sports, even things as simple as croque can really help control this problem.
After we retire, we are at first, soooo Happy! Right? We now have so much time to do what ever we want to do.
But, after a relatively short time, many of us find we have too much empty time on our hands. And, it can get very lonely.
Senior citizen sports can fill a good portion of that time with Fun and Joy.
Participating in any kind of senior citizen sports greatly reduces or eliminates feelings of isolation and low self value that can develop after we retire. “Senior citizen sports have proven to increase self esteem”.
That article goes on to say: “Playing senior citizen sports with others improves morale, and gives us a greater feeling of purpose by helping and participating with others.”
Doesn’t that sound wonderful?
As we just mentioned, we’re so excited about retirement. UNTIL a year or so after we retire.
Then the isolation, lack of community and participation can often become overwhelming. Leading to a decline, a HUGE decline, in our joy and well being.
Take a look at this excerpt from the article “Seniors Engaged in Pursuing Sports, Living Longer”, published by bloomberg.com:
“In Japan, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is actually encouraging socialization (sports) as a form of care for its senior citizens. The logic is that those who are more connected to their communities fall ill less often as they feel the comforts of belonging and companionship. Seniors participating in sports leagues can develop these social networks that can help combat the feelings of isolation that often arise in old age.”
reference: “Seniors Engaged in Pursuing Sports, Living Longer”, bloomberg.com
Don’t let the misery of isolation happen to you. You’re at the best part of your life. It’s time to go out and have as much fun as you can. Senior citizen sports provide just that opportunity.
- Senior citizen sports improve our minds as well as our physical bodies. Improving at a sport requires memorization, repetition and learning, and honing these skill sets carries over into all our other activities.
- Playing sports removes the feeling of isolation that often creeps in after retirement.
- Participating in any kind of senior citizen sports, team or individual, gives a greater sense of purpose to seniors of all ages.
- Participating in Senior Citizen Sports gives a a place to make new friends.
Maybe most important of all: Participating in senior citizen sports is FUN. We meet new people, get stronger in every way, and Have a Good Time.
For a Happy and More Independent Tomorrow ~ William