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Recreational Sports as Fitness for Seniors

February 27, 2024

No matter where one is in life, there is one common factor that is constantly recommended to stay healthy: regular exercise. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults get between 2.5 to 5 hours of exercise a week, which comes out to roughly half an hour a day. However, as an older adult, finding the time to exercise is daunting. The best way to overcome that? Make it fun.

Participating in recreational sports as fitness for seniors is the perfect way to exercise without it feeling like exercise. The health benefits alone are enough reason to return to one’s favorite recreational sport, but for many older adults, this form of exercise serves as something more.

Recreational Sports as Fitness for Seniors

Social interaction and exercise all in one

As we age, especially post-retirement, our social circles shrink. Connecting with others may not be as simple as it once was, which is why any sort of class or club is a great option for older adults. Recreational sports, especially team sports are perfect for older adults looking to meet new people.

On the other hand, sports that are more on a one-versus-one scale are great for meeting with your friends and family. Whichever you choose, recreational sports are a great way to stay physically and socially active.

What are the different kinds of recreational sports?

If you’re looking for a new recreational sport to try, it’s important to recognize that no two are exactly alike. Select something based on your existing fitness levels and any mobility concerns. However, if you aren’t sure where to start, consider the three categories of physical activities.

  • Contact sports involve players coming into physical contact with another player or object, whether intentional or accidental. This occurs in sports such as football, hockey, or karate. Most contact sports are too dangerous for seniors, as they have the highest risk of injury.
  • Limited-contact sports may have players coming into contact with one another, but it is not allowed in the rules of the game. Sports such as these include soccer, baseball, or racquetball. If you play the sport cautiously, it is unlikely you will collide with other players and should stay safe.
  • Non-contact sports are those that, as the name implies, have essentially no contact with other people or objects. These include tennis, golf, and pickleball. In general, these sports are perfectly safe and great exercise for seniors.

What are some recreational sports as fitness for seniors?

Whether you grew up playing sports or never picked up a ball, there is certainly a game you will enjoy. Below are a few great options to get you moving.


Pickleball combines the fun of several net-and-ball sports into one fast-paced, social game. This sport takes place on a smaller court than that of a tennis court, making it easier for seniors to move about and hit the ball. In addition to improving hand-eye coordination and muscle strength, regular pickleball games have been shown to improve cardiorespiratory fitness, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure.

exercise for seniors


Golf is a commonly-played game among seniors, and it’s with good reason. The sport doesn’t require one to run back and forth for long periods of time—instead, it encourages longer walks and comfortable swings. If you grow tired, you can always switch to a golf cart instead of walking the entire green. Time traveling between holes makes it an extremely social sport.


For a sport to bring all generations together, try baseball. Whether you play catch with your grandchildren or join a team, a game will have you exercising a wide range of muscles, but not to the extreme of many major sports. This makes it a great choice for those who wish to improve their cardiovascular health. If baseball seems a little too fast-paced, softball could be the solution you are looking for.

Before you get started…

Just as is the case for anything, it is important you make an effort to stay as safe as possible when trying a new sport. Consult with your doctor to ensure your sport of choice will be safe for you, and remember these tips:

  • Ease into the sport. Pushing too hard, too fast puts you at risk of injury.
  • Don’t be discouraged by slow progress. You may not excel as quickly as you would like to, and that is okay. It’s only with regular practice that you will improve.
  • Prioritize safety above all else. If your sport of choice has recommended safety gear, wear it. In addition, don’t allow your competitive spirit to lead you to do something unsafe.
  • If you’re injured, don’t push through the pain. Whereas muscle soreness can be achy and stiff, an injury is often a sharp pain that does not relent for a few days. Allow yourself the necessary time to heal, and if you have any concerns, call your doctor right away.

Companionship at home with home care

Embracing recreational sports for fitness is practically a holistic approach to healthy living. However, even those who exercise frequently may require additional support and personalized care at home. This is where the services of an agency like Home Care Powered by AUAF come into play.

For more than 30 years, Home Care Powered by AUAF has offered seniors in the greater Chicago area the comprehensive care they need to remain in the comfort of their homes. Whether you require assistance with meal preparation, medication reminders, or you’re simply looking for a companion, your at-home caregiver can provide you with everything you need and more.

If you think an at-home caregiver could provide you with the support you need, give us a call at (773) 274-9262. We are happy to help.

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