Indoor Sports for Seniors: How It Helps Make Them Healthier
There’s a misconception that you need to slow down and relax as you age. In fact, the opposite is true—as you get older, it’s important to stay active in order to maintain the best physical and emotional health.
But of course, as we age, it becomes harder to swing a golf club or dribble a ball across a soccer field. This is why indoor sports for seniors are such a good idea. They’re low-risk, easy to access, and, above all, add some much-needed fun!
Here’s how incorporating indoor sports into your senior loved one’s life can make them healthier and happier. You can keep your loved ones active yourself, or caregivers can help with a custom-tailored care plan!
Builds Strength and Mobility
If your senior loved one is already strong and mobile, then getting them involved in indoor sports can keep them that way for as long as possible. On the other hand, if they’re beginning to seem a little weaker as time goes by, starting them with some safe physical activity can help build strength and increase flexibility and mobility.
There’s a wide variety of indoor sports to choose from, and many of them are low-impact, so your senior loved one doesn’t need to worry about hurting themselves. Regular physical activity—especially weight-bearing activity, like walking or yoga—can have a hugely positive effect on their health.
Opportunity for Socializing
It becomes harder and harder to stay social as you get older. Whether your senior loved one lives in a retirement village or at home, it can be easy to stay indoors and never see anybody other than family… Which is unhealthy in a few ways.
Indoor sports for seniors also help give their social life a bit of a boost. Not only can they meet other seniors with similar interests—whether they’re single or a couple—but they can also make new friends or catch up with old ones while getting some physical exercise in.
Of course, this is only really applicable if they take part in group classes or sports. If they’re doing exercises in the comfort of their own living room, this benefit may fall by the wayside unless they invite a friend over to exercise with them.
Reduces Outdoor-Related Risks
Being outdoors brings its own set of challenges, especially for seniors. Firstly, being active outdoors can be tough due to unpredictable terrain, which can be tricky for those with existing mobility issues.
Secondly, exposure to the sun can lead to sunburn, dehydration, and even heatstroke. On the other hand, if it’s cold out, that can quickly lead to hypothermia in older people with little body fat to keep them warm!
Then there are things like pollen, pests, and wind, which can cause itching, sneezing, sore ears, and a number of other unpleasant things! Even though exercising or playing sports outdoors gives you a dose of vitamin D and fresh air, there are risks.
Seniors who are sensitive to weather or struggle with allergies don’t have to worry about it at all when they choose indoor sports instead. They’re usually temperature-controlled, air-conditioned, and on the much safer ground!
Safer Than Outdoors
Aside from the dangers of the weather and insects, being outdoors also means you’re exposed to other dangers. Whether you’re a senior or a young person, you have to contend with things like traffic and other people around you. And as much as we don’t like to think about it, not everyone’s intentions are pure!
Taking part in indoor sports is safer for many reasons. There’s virtually no chance of being in danger of injury from a traffic mishap, you won’t accidentally step off the curb and twist an ankle, and there’s far less chance of being mugged while you’re out and about.
Keeps the Brain Young!
There’s plenty of evidence out there to suggest that exercising keeps the brain young, as well as the body! When you exercise—regardless of whether it’s vigorous exercise or slow, relaxed exercise—your heart pumps faster, sending oxygen-rich blood to the body.
It also helps to release endorphins in the brain—happy hormones that boost your mood, ease pain, and make life better for at least a good few hours afterward. There’s also some evidence to suggest that exercise plays a key role in the development of new neurons, which helps the brain to stay “young”.
This can also help to reduce the chances of seniors developing things like Alzheimer’s and dementia. The earlier they get involved in sports and exercise, the better—but regardless of age, regular physical activity is a must to keep the brain performing at its best.
Types of Indoor Sports for Seniors
So want to get your senior loved one involved in indoor sports? Here are the types of indoor sports for seniors that you may want to consider.
Many retirement villages offer a variety of group classes that residents can choose to get involved in. These will vary from place to place, but some sports you may find include:
- Water aerobics
If your senior loved one is living at home, they may be able to join in at the retirement village when they have classes. Otherwise, there’s a high likelihood of being able to find other classes nearby. Google is your best friend here!
The other alternative is to kit your senior loved one out with some exercise equipment at home. This can range from light weights and a yoga mat to a golf mat and indoor putting green—whatever suits them and gets them excited for indoor sports!
Make sure that safety measures are taken if they’re going to be exercising alone at home. Getting them a panic button to wear around their neck is a good idea, so if they do get injured or take a tumble, they can easily alert someone.
Getting your loved one involved in indoor sports for seniors could be one of the best things you do for them. It’s great for the body, the brain, and their mood, plus it can be something they look forward to every day or every week.
Just make sure they’re doing something they enjoy. As long as they’re having fun, all the other benefits will come along with it. Want more advice on how to implement indoor sports for your senior loved ones?
About the Author
Jordan Fuller is a retired golfer and businessman. When he’s not on the course working on his own game or mentoring young golfers, he writes in-depth articles for his website, Golf Influence.