Physical activity is vital at any age, but it can be particularly beneficial for older adults to exercise regularly to stay healthy and strong. One popular way seniors are getting their daily exercise is by playing low-impact sports. Today’s retirement communities have opportunities for seniors to participate in all types of low-impact sports ranging from shuffleboard to special boxing classes designed for adults with Parkinson’s disease. Best of all, playing sports helps seniors to stay active, socialize with peers, and improve strength and mobility to reduce the risk of future injuries.
The following is a list of low-impact sports that are fun and safe for people of all ages, whether you’re a beginner or a more experienced athlete. Remember, always talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.
Shuffleboard is a simple and easy-to-play low-impact sport that all ages can enjoy. It was first played in 15th century England, but the rules have stayed about the same. Shuffleboard can be played indoors or outdoors, with players taking turns sliding weighted discs across a triangle-shaped court using a long pole. The objective is to land the disk in the highest scoring area of the court. Shuffleboard offers the perfect combination of light physical activity with friendly competition, making it an ideal sport for older adults.
Bocce ball, or bocci, is a fun team sport that’s also an excellent source of low-impact exercise. Bocce ball has its roots in Ancient Rome, but it’s still very popular today, especially in retirement communities. The game starts with a small ball rolled onto a playing field, and then each team takes turns trying to roll their larger balls as close to the target ball as possible. The team with the most balls near the target ball wins.
Pickleball is a fast-paced, competitive sport that was invented in the mid-1960s and shares elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis. The sport is played with two or four players who use paddles to hit a perforated ball over a net. Pickleball can be played both indoors or outdoors on a small court. Because pickleball requires less traveling across a larger court, it’s often considered a safer alternative to tennis for older adults.
Ping-Pong, or table tennis, is a classic competitive game that’s well-loved by all age groups. Seniors can play in teams of two or four, making it a fun social activity enjoyed in many retirement communities. Ping-pong can be fast-paced but has a low risk of injury. Because the sport requires a high level of concentration and hand-eye coordination, it’s a great opportunity for seniors to exercise both their body and mind.
Rock Steady Boxing
Rock Steady Boxing is a unique, innovative program that was developed exclusively for adults living with Parkinson’s disease. Rock Steady is designed for people with all stages of Parkinson’s, using non-contact exercises adopted from boxing drills to help improve agility, hand-eye coordination, stamina, strength, and balance. At Bethany Village, Rock Steady Boxing is one of our most popular programs, and is open to anyone with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, regardless of age. (Residence at Bethany Village is not required.)
These are just a few of the low-impact sports retirement communities offer to enrich the lives of residents and promote healthy aging. Participating in low-impact sports allows seniors to enjoy some friendly competition while experiencing the health benefits of daily exercise for mind and body.