Discovering the Ideal Sports and Physical Activities for Aging Well

Participating in low-impact sports and physical activities like walking, swimming, and yoga is key to aging well, as they enhance flexibility, strength, and balance, thereby boosting overall health, mobility, and mental well-being in older adults.

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Discovering the Ideal Sports and Physical Activities for Aging Well
5 Min Read December 13th, 2023

In attempting to age gracefully, many operate using the adage that “if you don’t use it, you lose it” with regard to physical skills. 

That trend starts early on, as researchers from the University of Southern California estimate that starting at age 30, adults lose between three and eight percent of their total muscle mass with each passing decade if they don’t carefully maintain their abilities. 

Of course, it can be quite difficult to decide what sport or exercise you want to take part in to help yourself age like a fine wine. Exercise is, by definition, strenuous, and the hardest part of playing a sport is those first few weeks as you get acclimated to the demands it requires. 

Here are some of the best exercises and sports to help keep you happy and healthy as you age: they may not be easy at first, but there’s no denying the positive impacts they carry.

Cardio, Cardio, Cardio: The Magic of Walking or Biking

As a lover of distance running, I can’t speak enough about the positive effects of cardiovascular exercise. It’s difficult to find an area where getting your heart pumping won’t help, as cardio is linked to better heart, lung, and vascular health, cognitive function, and even immune system function… not to mention improved moods as well.

With that said, I know how difficult it is to get into the habit of walking or running. The beautiful thing about cardio is that it helps you on a sliding scale based on the effort you put in. For someone struggling to maintain a healthy weight, for instance, they won’t have to walk anywhere near as much as someone who runs every day in order to burn the same number of calories. 

What’s more, as you continue to improve your overall health and athleticism, it’ll become easier to attain higher benchmarks: if, at one point, you burned 250 calories over the course of a mile, you’ll be burning 250 calories over the course of three or four miles in a few months’ time.

Walking and running can be tough on one’s knees, which is something to keep in mind for older adults. Be cautious with things like treadmills or on hard surfaces like concrete. Biking doesn’t burn quite as many calories as walking and running do, but it’s a great alternative because of how much easier it is on your joints. 

Similarly, if fall risk is a concern, you can opt for exercise machines like stationary bikes to help keep yourself upright and healthy. Swimming is another form of cardiovascular exercise that will help you minimize impact, but it’s important to do so safely.

Take a safe bet on improving your health like you’re using a BetMGM Bonus Code, and start participating in cardio today. It won’t be easy at first, but the benefits are too good to ignore.

Yoga and Tai Chi

 A group of people sitting on yoga mats.

These disciplines, focused on movement and mindfulness, are excellent for mediating and improving mood, but they also carry physical benefits. Tai Chi is often cited as a remedy for arthritis, as your gentle, flowing movements can soothe aching joints. It's a much gentler form of exercise than cardio — or even yoga, which I'll get to in a moment — but it'll help get your body moving and your blood flowing nonetheless.

Whereas Tai Chi focuses on movement, holding the poses you make is the name of the game in yoga. It may not seem like it, but yoga improves muscle strength in addition to the obvious flexibility benefits, and it can also help you regulate your heart, lungs, and mood. 

Yoga and Tai Chi also provide an excellent opportunity for socializing, as there are plenty of classes in the disciplines aimed at older adults. Not only can you improve your long-term health and wellness, but you can also make friends in doing so … it's hard to beat that combination.


Much like how the diverse forms of cardiovascular exercise provide options for a wide variety of lifestyles, golf is a great choice for older adults because of how you can adapt your participation to your own specific needs. At the most basic level, the physical act of taking swings will help improve your strength and athleticism, even if you need to take a golf cart from hole to hole or shot to shot. 

Those in fitter condition can opt to walk instead, getting even more physical exercise in the process. Golf isn't the most exerting sport in the world, but getting out and enjoying the fresh air and sunshine will help you feel much better than if you're stuck inside. 

It's Not Too Late to Get Active

Starting an exercise program in your 50s requires a careful and thoughtful approach, especially if you haven't been very active before. The first step is to consult with your doctor. This is crucial to ensure that the exercise plan you intend to follow is safe and suitable for your health status. Once you have the green light from your doctor, you can begin crafting a workout routine tailored to your current fitness level and health goals.

Begin with low-impact activities. At this stage, starting slowly is essential to avoid injury and excessive strain. Activities like brisk walking, swimming, or cycling are excellent choices. These exercises are gentle on the joints while still providing a good cardiovascular workout. You might also consider yoga or pilates, which are fantastic for improving flexibility, balance, and core strength. These exercises also have the added benefit of being stress-relieving.

Incorporate strength training. While cardiovascular activities are important, strength training shouldn't be overlooked, especially in your 50s. Muscle mass naturally decreases with age, so incorporating strength training can help maintain muscle tone, improve metabolism, and support bone health. Start with light weights or resistance bands, focusing on major muscle groups. Learning the correct form for each exercise is important, so consider working with a fitness trainer initially.

Set realistic goals and be patient. It's important to set achievable goals and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. Remember that progress in fitness takes time, especially if you're starting from a relatively inactive lifestyle. Celebrate small victories like being able to walk a longer distance or lifting heavier weights than when you started.

Finally, find activities that you enjoy. The key to sticking with an exercise program is to find activities that are enjoyable for you. Whether it's a dance class, hiking in nature, or playing a sport like tennis, engaging in activities that you love will make it easier to stay motivated and consistent.

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About the Author

Javier Echeverria is a writer and rising star in the entertainment scene. Javier has a knack for crafting captivating experiences into interesting stories for readers.

LTC News Contributor Javier Echeverria

Javier Echeverria

Contributor since December 13th, 2023

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