Swedish gymnastics, swimming and Nordic walking are classic forms of exercise for seniors.
But there are also non-traditional ways to stay in shape, too.
What is important is that you enjoy the activity and that the risk of injury is low.
So what do you like to do, or do you have a habit of doing?
If you’ve entered your so-called twilight years and are looking for something to keep those old bones moving, this is the first question you should ask yourself, advises Philip Messerschmidt, a personal trainer for seniors and latecomers. to exercise and sport.
The second question, he says, is whether it is still safe to do “because after all, physical limitations are often present.”
If you are feeling well enough, and ideally if your doctor gives you the go-ahead, you can play table tennis for example.
âAmong other things, it improves hand-eye coordination, agility and mobility,â he says.
The competitive nature of sports such as table tennis is also positive, he notes, noting that for many people, it’s more fun than jogging or doing gymnastics on your own.
Another suitable sport is foot football.
âThe rules are similar to normal football, but running – with the ball or towards the ball – is not allowed,â says Rainer Kuepper, who coaches a football team on foot in Germany.
The sport is perfect for people who enjoy playing soccer, but are no longer able to play in a standard soccer team due to their age or physical condition.
The pitch measures 20m by 40m, there is no goalkeeper and usually has six players per team.
“The ball should not be kicked above hip height,” Kuepper said, adding that tackling and brutal physical contact is also not allowed.
The rules are meant to prevent injury and overwork.
Fifty-five is the minimum age for players on his team, and there is no maximum.
âWe have an elder who celebrated his 80th birthday last year,â he shares.
He has players with an artificial hip or knee, which is no obstacle to playing football while walking.
If you prefer wheeled locomotion to walking – which is, after all, pedestrian – then senior inline skating may be for you.
âInline skating improves body control as well as endurance,â explains Messerschmidt, and stresses that the former is especially important for older people in order to avoid falls.
âOn the other hand, you shouldn’t underestimate the risk of a fall while inline skating,â he warns, so you need to carefully weigh the risks and the benefits.
Although inline skating isn’t at the top of his list of exercise options for seniors with physical disabilities, he says those who are still fit and athletic – and wear the right protective gear – could definitely try it.
Some German programs use caddies to train senior beginners.
If the music makes you want to move, dancing might be your best bet.
As long as your blood pressure isn’t too high and other risk factors don’t bother you, you can even try Zumba classes, suggests Messerschmidt.
Zumba is an aerobic fitness program performed primarily to Latin American dance music.
Or you could take a line dancing class.
Line dancing is a type of choreographed country and western dance in which dancers line up.
Due to the different stride sequences, turns and changes of direction, it’s perfect for seniors, according to Messerschmidt.
It keeps you nimble, he says – âmentally tooâ.
Another plus is that line dancing lessons often include young and old participants, so older people can benefit from the contagiousness of young people as well. joy of living.
Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic has severely disrupted many sporting and recreational activities, something Kuepper knows all too well.
âFor months we were not allowed to enter our grounds, then we had to agree to restrictions on the use of our changing room and showers,â he says.
His team is currently able to train again.
Despite all of recent adversity, seniors would do well to stick to, or resume, their preferred form of exercise as circumstances permit. – By Julia Felicitas Allmann / dpa