5 best sports and physical activities for older adults

The best way for older adults to improve their health is with physical activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But it can be harder for some older adults to find activities that they enjoy and feel safe doing.

If you are 55 and over and haven’t worked out in a while, it is important to listen to your body and start slow. When choosing an activity, look for sports that combine working on balance, core strength and posture — while ensuring fall prevention.

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Here are a few physical activities that are great for older adult:

Take a walk

The easiest way to move is also one of the best. When you walk, you are working out your entire body and building core strength by holding yourself up. The CDC suggests older adults try to walk 30 minutes, at least five times per week. It can be incorporated into a routine. Make walking more fun by meeting with a friend or joining a walking group.

Water fitness classes

There is a reason why older adults love water fitness classes: According to AgeWell Atlanta, they are easy on joints and are often a social activity. Plus, the water acts as natural resistance to help build strength. Many community centers, senior centers and swimming centers offer classes.

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Yoga

Yoga helps with physical health and reduces stress. Research shows it’s a low-impact exercise that can improve your core balance, strength, respiratory flow and muscle flexibility. Jewish Family & Career Services offers BrainHealth Bootcamp a combination of yoga and brain games to help exercise both mind and body. Chair yoga classes — which involve similar postures as yoga but are gentler and better suited for adults with mobility issues — are another option, according to Healthline.

Pickleball

Pickleball has exploded in popularity, with a 650% increase in players over the last six years, according to the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA). Players use special paddles and a whiffle ball, and games take place on tennis courts marked with pickleball lines. The nets are smaller than tennis, which require less running and can be easier on the joints. Check out your local YMCA, Piedmont Atlanta Fitness Center, public park or tennis center for courts and classes.

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Dance or senior aerobics

Turn on some music and get into the groove. There are many options for senior aerobics. Silver Sneakers has great classes that are low-impact and lots of fun. It is also covered by most Medicare plans, so check out their website and find a location near you.

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