7 best sports for the elderly

By Evan Cooper
Last updated: October 19, 2018

All doctors come to the unanimous opinion that moderate physical exertion is necessary for the health and well-being of older people. Sports activities contribute to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, diseases of the musculoskeletal system, strengthening of immunity and normalization of sleep.


We learned from Alexey Sdinev, an expert in the care of the elderly, what kinds of sports it is better to choose for an elderly person. However, first of all, he reminded: before adding a new movement activity to the daily routine, it is necessary to visit a doctor and consult, especially for those who have any chronic diseases.


It is necessary to clarify whether it is possible to engage in the chosen sport, whether there are restrictions on the duration or individual element (for example, people who have undergone eye or head operations, are contraindicated in yoga asanas, which assume the position upside down).




Before practicing sports, coupled with navigation on the ground, it is necessary to exclude the presence of cognitive impairments, since in their presence there is a danger of getting lost.


Before any physical activity, it is important to do a little workout. And it is better to do a little, at a calm pace, watching your condition. It must be remembered that the goal of playing sports in adulthood is not to achieve impressive sports results, but to maintain one's health, and with the slightest signs of malaise you need to stop exercising and see a doctor.


Swimming

It has a beneficial effect on the body of any person, and older people are no exception. While swimming, the muscles of the press, back, arms and legs are strengthened, but the load on the joints is minimal, since the person is in a state of hydrostatic weightlessness, so you can go swimming even to people with diseases of the musculoskeletal system or after injuries, for example, after a fracture of the neck of the thigh.


Not to mention the fact that classes in cool water contribute to the improvement of immunity, are indicated for diseases of the cardiovascular system, improve blood circulation.



Yoga

This complex of static exercises seems to have been specially created for the elderly - because it is primarily aimed at maintaining muscle tone and improving the mobility of the joints. During yoga, due to deep breathing, the body is saturated with oxygen, posture improves. Regular practice harmonizes the internal state.


Many elderly people, who systematically practice yoga, note a reduction in joint pain and a reduction in blood pressure. However, it is worth remembering that at an older age the risk of injury due to the incorrect technique of performing exercises is much higher, therefore it is necessary to engage in the presence of an experienced instructor who is familiar with the peculiarities of the organism of the elderly.



Morning Workout

In order to tune into the positive mood from the very beginning, it is useful to perform a small charge. The essence of the morning complex of exercises is reduced to stir all the joints.


You can start with the slopes and rotation of the head. Then, flexion and extension of the fingers, brush rotation, flexion, and extension of the arm in the elbow joint and rotation of the forearm, swings, and rotation by hand. Then you can go to the leg warm-up - perform a few turns of the foot, the exercises "scissors" and "bicycle". This simple activity, performed regularly, will be an excellent prevention of osteoporosis and immobility of the joints.



The Scandinavian Walk

For those who like long walks, a great option will be Scandinavian walking (that is, with special sticks). With such walking, the risk of injury is reduced, since the emphasis on the sticks adds additional stability, and also relieves the load from the knee and hip joints, which is especially important for elderly people. In addition, Scandinavian walking strengthens not only the muscles of the lower half of the body, but also the back, the press, and the hands, as they too are involved.


Attention! Although the emphasis on sticks and reduces the risk of falling, still do not do Scandinavian walking in winter, when the sidewalks and footpaths are covered with snow and ice, as there is a risk of slipping and falling, and falls in adulthood are dangerous.



Cross Country Skiing

A great alternative to Scandinavian walking during the winter months will be skiing. If there is a forest or a park nearby, you should definitely take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.


Walking on skis also involves all muscle groups, and cold air helps to resist colds. Ski walks will also help in the fight against insomnia, which often affects older people, and help to quickly fall asleep.



Table Tennis

One of the safest sports with the right approach, the probability of injury is minimal since the load is distributed evenly to all muscles. In addition, the load on the locomotor system as a whole is small, but constant, which contributes to its gradual strengthening.


Ping-pong improves coordination of movements and maintenance of vision, as the ball moves with great speed, you need to constantly keep it in sight and be at the right time in the right place.



Chess

Do not forget that in addition to the muscles in regular training needs also the brain of an elderly person. In this regard, it is very useful to master chess. During the game, both hemispheres of the brain actively work: the left one is responsible for logical thinking and the development of the chain of moves, and the right one is for abstract thinking and forecasting the consequences of the course, the actions of the enemy.


Plus, it trains short-term and long-term memory, because during the game you need to keep in mind the previous moves, rules, the experience of previous games. Such mental exercises contribute to the prevention of cognitive impairment.