Sports for Elderly and Benefits | What Sport and Fitness Activities for Older People?

Sports for elderly

Sports for Elderly

Sport, or more precisely regular physical activity, represents a chance to age in better health. But for it to become a habit, without being a constraint, it is important to choose a sport adapted to your age and physical condition. So, what sports for elderly to practice when you are 65 or over 70?

From the age of 55, it is better to consider an endurance activity and avoid sports that work the muscles in strength and intensity. Nevertheless, in some cases, a person who has practiced a discipline all his life will be able to continue to practice it because he knows his abilities and his limits. In addition, his good mastery of technical gestures will allow him to continue training in good conditions.

For people who start a sport after the age of 60, it is necessary to set up progressive training over a year. For example, a beginner runner will start with two sessions of 10 to 20 minutes per week during which he will do sets of one minute of jogging at a medium pace followed by three minutes of walking. After a year, he will be able to run three quarters of an hour each time he goes out, at an average pace.

The optimal training to keep in shape is to practice, three times a week, an endurance sport for about 45 minutes. Sports for elderly intensity of the exercise must allow the athlete to be able to speak during the effort. Exaggerated shortness of breath, heart palpitations or unusual pain (especially in the chest) must imperatively lead to the cessation of exercise and justify a medical consultation.

Sports for elderly have an interest in practicing a complete warm-up, sufficiently long, and taking care not to become dehydrated. The feeling of thirst fades with age and it is important to drink regularly before, during and after exercise.

What Sport and Fitness Activities for Older People?

Many sports activities are suitable for seniors.

Walking, running and hiking

Walking, running and hiking are good physical activities for digestion, circulation and morale. Walking is indicated to prevent osteoporosis but is not recommended in case of osteoarthritis or for seniors with heart disease. We can also mention Nordic walking which is practiced in the mountains.

Aquatic sports activities for seniors: aquagym and swimming

Many benefits are associated with the practice of aquatic activities when you are a senior. They allow you to work on endurance, breathing, coordination and muscles. Aquatic activities suitable for seniors include swimming and water aerobics.

Cycling, the sport for the fittest seniors

This sporting discipline develops cardiovascular capacities and allows them to work on their sense of balance and coordination.

There is cycling, which is practiced outdoors, but also indoor activities, such as the elliptical trainer or aquabiking. Read the guide on the connected exercise bike for the elderly.

Read also: Foods Rich in Magnesium Important for Our Health

Gymnastics, the basis of sports activity for the elderly

It is advisable to practice gymnastics to work on cardiac endurance, muscle strengthening and joints. It is also a way to fight against the weight gain that sometimes accompanies aging.

This sporting activity can be practiced indoors, in a group with a sports coach, or at home. Several types of gym exist: gentle gym, memory gym, balance gym, actigym etc… or even, in another genre, yoga.

Between all these types of gymnastics and yoga, it is easy to find the appropriate discipline for your form and health.

Other physical activities suitable for older people

Tai chi and archery can be practiced safely by an elderly person.

Rowing, canoeing and sea kayaking for elderly

Rowing is an excellent sporting activity: it works all the muscles and solicits the cardiovascular system. For all these sports, however, it is necessary to acquire good technique and avoid extreme movements of the torso or arms. Practiced in a seated position, they allow the joints not to support the weight of the body and can therefore be suitable for obese subjects or those suffering from osteoarthritis.

Archery for elderly

This sport works the muscles by stretching them; it requires concentration and precision.


Dancing promotes blood circulation and helps to work on motor coordination and the sense of balance. It promotes encounters and enriches social life. People who practice dancing must be careful not to overdo it and respect their rhythm. Beware of dehydration ! The purchase of shoes adapted to the morphology of your feet is essential to avoid blisters, corns and sprains.

5 Fitness Excercises for Elderly

Here is a selection of the 5 senior gymnastics exercises among the best for the body and for the mind:

• strengthening the back muscles: lying on your back, legs bent, bring the right knee to the chest and pull until the thigh comes into contact with the abdomen, if necessary with the help of the hands; do the same on the left side. We stay 15 seconds in position and we repeat 2 to 3 times.

• strengthening of the buttocks: lying on the ground, on the side, leg on the ground bent, the other leg stretched; we take off the leg, the tip of the foot turned inwards, we lift with small amplitude by feeling well his hip. We do 2 sets of 15 repetitions.

• strengthening the pectorals: lying on your back, take two small dumbbells (or failing that, two bottles of water), spread your arms and then tighten by contracting under the chest; inspiration is done on the descent, expiration on the ascent. We do 2 sets of 15 repetitions.

• strengthening the shoulders: lying down, take a light dumbbell in your hands and stretch your arms behind your head as far as possible, opening your rib cage; then bring the dumbbell back by contracting the abdominals. We do 2 sets of 15 repetitions, gently.

• muscle and reflex strengthening: in pairs, each seated on a chair facing each other, at a distance of 1 meter; person A makes gestures to which person B will respond: if A raises his right hand, B punches the right side; if A lowers his right hand, B kicks; if A raises his right hand above his head, B rises to throw a fist; etc You can find a multitude of variations. After 10 repetitions, switch roles.

What are the main benefits of physical activity for the elderly?

Starting physical activity or exercise as early as 55 years of age offers real health benefits. The benefits of exercise for the elderly are numerous; on the cardiorespiratory system, nervous system, muscle mass, respiratory system, immune defense… here are some examples:

Benefits of Exercise for seniors | On the cardiorespiratory, nervous, muscle mass, respiratory, immune defenses and mental health system

Sources: PinterPandai, Senior Lifestyle, Active Health, HealthLine, NHS UK

Main photo credit: EddieKphoto / Pixabay

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