With a new season comes another wonderful opportunity to set a few fresh fitness goals. While summertime is all about lounging, fall is an optimal time to restart your daily exercise regimen or update an old, more methodical one. Working out at a gym or taking exercise classes can be great ways to stay fit, but there are also several new sports that have hit the radar recently. They can be fantastic ways to get in some strength training and cardio while having fun, too.
Just remember that before you begin any new physical activities, check with your doctor to ensure that these sports are safe for you. And ease into them – start each one slowly and increase your stamina over time to prevent strain or injury.
Pickleball has taken North America by storm. This is a relatively simple, low-impact cross between tennis and ping-pong. It’s simple enough: hit a wiffle ball over a net with lighter wooden paddles. You can play singles or doubles. It’s easy for even a novice to pick up, and it’s a great alternative for those who already play racket sports. Pickleball is also an inexpensive sport to start – there are already nets and courts set up in every major city, and you just need to buy paddles and a ball or two. It will get you moving, as well as raising that heart rate.
Walking soccer or basketball
If you love certain team sports but find them to be challenging later in life, there are now walking versions of many of these activities. Try out slower types of soccer and basketball, in which there is minimal running and more modest playing surfaces. These walking sports let you get the same excitement of each respective sport without the exertion.
Not all martial arts are fast or physically challenging. In fact, there are a number of these activities that are more leisurely and gentle, but which can still benefit you in so many ways. Depending on your range of motion and overall skill level, different martial arts can be hugely advantageous for seniors to enjoy. The slowest is tai chi ─ with its smooth, calculated, fluid motions; as well as karate and Aikido ─ which can also be adapted or modified to your personal preferences.
We all know that good ol’ walking can be great for our health, especially as we age. It can help us keep a healthy weight, stave away heart disease and stroke and strengthen bones. It can even reduce pain and give our mental health a much-appreciated boost. Nordic walking with poles is a new trend because it takes all the pluses of walking and adds even more total-body workout benefits. Because you are engaging so much of your body with this form of walking, you can help target 80 per cent of your muscles with this one simple activity. It is low impact, and it’s fun to do!
The beloved backyard game of the 70s and 80s is back and giving seniors a fun excuse to get outside and have some fun with friends. But instead of scary metal spikes on the ends, the darts have fatter, weighted bottoms. Easy to set up and play, lawn darts can help to strength-train your arms and legs as well as your back and neck muscles, plus you’re on your feet moving about, which is optimal for heart health.
Who knew that something as simple and straightforward as archery would be such excellent physical activity! Shooting a bow and arrow requires a certain amount of strength, while aiming can help you improve your hand-eye co-ordination. It also challenges your balance and memory, all the while keeping you moving around. You can find bow-and-arrow sets at sports stores or online, and you can also find local activity centres that offer archery.