Football season is definitely here. There is no denying boisterous shouts when a successful play is made or grimacing moans when the quarterback throws an incomplete pass. Former football players puff out their chests with bravado and both men and women rattle off players and statistics as if they have been part of the family for years…and they have.
A perfect world would regularly have active Seniors on the field, running and throwing with perfect precision. Unfortunately, bodies change with age and playing a contact sport is not as easily accomplished as in youth.Bodies show from the signs of years of abuse, arthritis, and neuropathy to name a few “villains.” As a Senior, if you want to become more active, it is essential to have a physical assessment before beginning a new sport. First, speak to a doctor and discover if personal health conditions will not be barriers to a new activity. Precautions need to be taken. Start slow and work up to each level of the activity. Participate regularly to improve reflexes and avoid injuries. Avoid extremes. Have the appropriate equipment (shoes, facemasks, gloves, etc.). Stay hydrated.
Exercise typesThe rapid growth of those over the age of 65 has prompted the creation of new sports.
- Walking soccer- In this team sport, players do not have the right to run. If they do, the opposing team is entitled to a free-kick. The whole body is involved in moving the ball across the field. Best of all, a feeling of belonging by being on a team helps to keep a positive attitude.
- Pickleball - This sport is a combination of tennis, ping pong, and badminton. Paddles are used to move the ball over a net set low on the court. It is easy to build camaraderie as there are no more than four players in each game. It is affordable and focuses on hand and eye coordination.
- Walking Basketball - Similar to Walking Football, Walking Basketball also forbids running. Basketball is played solo, with 2 people (as in the game HORSE) or as a team.
- Bowling - Hand-eye coordination is strengthened even if the player is competing in Wii bowling. Both Wii and “normal” bowling improve grips, flexibility and challenge brains by strategizing the next throw.
- Nordic Walking - This low impact sport is popular in Europe and just starting to take hold in the States. Nordic walking is done with sticks pushed both vertically and horizontally. It targets endurance and exercises arms, pectoral muscles, shoulders, and gluteal muscles. There are fewer impacts in Nordic walking than in running.
- Ida Keeling, 104 years, sprinter…if she starts a race, she finishes it.
- Fauja Singh, 108 years, marathon runner…did not start running until he was 88
- Joan Campbell, 87 years, swimmer…competes monthly in the US Masters Swimming organization