senior exercise ideas

Staying Active ? Sports Activity Ideas for Seniors

Seniors need to stay active, but the idea of walking around town or going to the gym might not be enticing for many seniors. When a person hates an activity, they’re far less likely to engage in it.

But when a senior is engaging in an activity that they like, they’ll be more inclined to continue the activity.

Seniors that fail to stay active face the risk of:

  • Muscle loss
  • Weight gain
  • Poor circulation
  • Brittle bones

Most seniors won’t be able to play the contact sports that they did in their youth, but there are great activities that are gentle on the joints and can be done at any age.

A few sport ideas that seniors are following today are:


Swimming is a great sport because it allows you to perform a full range of motion exercise without gravity getting in the way. The buoyancy of the water is often utilized by physical therapists to help retrain patients to walk.

So, it’s an environment that even a person with poor mobility can enjoy.

Water activities can also include aqua classes that bring seniors together to exercise and stay fit.

Taking a few laps around the pool will help:

You can also get a good cardiovascular workout if you swim faster laps.


There’s a reason that a lot of people retire and take up golf as a hobby: it’s great for seniors. Golf is a great social activity that can be shared with friends and family. Seniors won’t be able to play the game like they did when they were younger, and flexibility may impact a person’s swing.

If a senior chooses to walk between all 18 holes, they’ll also be engaging in a four-mile walk.

The course’s terrain can challenge the person further by forcing the body to engage different muscles to stay balanced. Seniors can also choose to try and walk to some of the holes and use a golf cart to get to the rest of the holes.

Golf will help a senior increase or maintain their flexibility, and the sport will also increase a person’s lower body and core muscle strength. Other muscle groups that are engaged when you make a swing are the forearms, back, chest and buttocks.


Yoga classes, or even yoga done by following an instructor on the television, can be very beneficial for seniors. What’s great about yoga is that it can be a very gentle way to stay in shape.

Local community centers have yoga classes, or seniors can choose to buy a DVD that teaches them how to do yoga at home. There are also many online options that are completely free.

Hatha yoga is highly recommended because it’s able to improve flexibility and is more gentle than other forms of yoga. This form of yoga can also help:

  • Increase balance
  • Tone muscles

Practicing yoga can also be done in classes where it’s more of a sport and community atmosphere.

Bocce Ball

Bocce Ball is an easy game for seniors to play, and it’s a great option for anyone with a disability. Bocce can be played with two to eight people, and Howcast has a great video that explains how to play the game.

Teams will play by throwing balls at a marker, or at the smaller ball, which is thrown first to act as a marker.

Fun and social, Bocce Ball is best played with multiple people that want to mix the following three sports in one:

  1. Bowling
  2. Skee-ball
  3. Shuffleboard

While not the best game for muscle tone and maintenance, this sport will allow seniors to get out of the house and enjoy social time with their friends.


Yes, dancing is considered a sport. If a senior has a spouse, dancing can help them get out on the dance floor and rekindle their love. Dance classes for seniors are available, and dancing has been shown to:

  • Improve a person’s energy
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Improve balance
  • Boost memory and mood

If a senior can’t dance while standing up, chair dancing is another option. This seated dance is still going to help a person’s mood, memory, balance and heart, but it’s easy on the joints and is low impact.


The sport of bowling can be very competitive, and it’s never too late to get into bowling. There are bowling alleys scattered around cities, and there are also groups that go to play together to act as a social event.

Bowling can be done in a wheelchair, too.

There are special ramps that can be used to guide the ball down the lane. But when standing and bowling, seniors will benefit from increased arm strength due to the weight of the ball. Balance and coordination will also be benefitted thanks to the throwing of the ball.

A social sport, bowling can offer friendly competition and mental health benefits, too.

About the author

Tim Brewer

Tim is a professional caregiver who has helped hundreds of seniors gain back their freedom and independence. He has been actively helping the senior community for 20+ years.

View all posts