By Andrew Walker, MPH; NSGA Director of Health & Well-Being
Whether you are 50 or 90, it’s not too late to try a sport or new game. Although many adults change the way they have fun through sports by becoming spectators, you are never too old to experience the joy of playing sports. I saw this for myself when l witnessed thousands of adults over the age of 50 feeling the thrill of competition at the National Senior Games in Pittsburgh this summer.
If you aren’t active currently or want to mix up your routine, playing a sport may be the way to include more enjoyable physical activity in your life. There are many sports that are popular among adults today including pickleball, volleyball, cornhole, swimming and more.
Active Aging Week, celebrated Oct. 2-8 this year, is the perfect time to create a plan for your path to a more active lifestyle. The National Senior Games Association invites adults of all abilities to find your way to move more through sports and games.
Try this Plan to Move More
- Pick a sport that interests you. Get back into a sport that you played as a youth or try one that you always wanted to learn. Browse the list of sports offered at the National Senior Games for ideas.
- Consult with your doctor. Talk with a medical professional before starting a new physical activity. If you haven’t been active, low-intensity sports like golf, power walk, shuffleboard and cornhole are great starting points. Don’t let the phrase “low-intensity” fool you, these sports still require skill and practice.
- Set a goal. Do you want to jog a mile? Be able to go for a hike with your family? Compete in your local Senior Games? Find your goal and break it down into manageable steps.
- Build your fitness to prevent injuries. If you’re getting into a physically demanding sport, assess your fitness level and where you need to build so you can maximize your enjoyment and stay injury-free. Physical therapists, athletic trainers or certified personal trainers can perform fitness assessments and identify exercises for your needs.
- Connect with other active adults. Engage with your State Senior Games, city or county recreation program, YMCA or a sports club to find people with similar goals who can help you learn. Get in the game and play together.
- Celebrate your milestones and stick with it. Last but not least, celebrate yourself for taking action! When you need a boost of motivation, visit the NSGA Active Aging Week theme page for moving wellness stories from National Senior Games athletes.
Remember what George Bernard Shaw said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” I hope to see you at the next National Senior Games!