When it comes to staying active and getting exercise, it’s so easy to tap into your go-to list of low-impact activities like yoga, cycling, tennis, dancing, swimming, golfing and hiking.
Variety is the spice of life though, so if you’re looking for more out-of-the-box activities that are fun and good for you, don’t miss this quick list:
Badminton is a racquet sport that generates loads of heart-pounding fun for older adults (and really people of all ages) and is fairly versatile when it comes to where and how you play. Year-round badminton can be played on indoor courts or outside, even from the convenience of your own backyard.
Typically, badminton is played 1-on-1 or 2-on-2 and essentially involves players using small, lightweight racquets to lob a birdie (or shuttlecock) back and forth over a net. A birdie is shaped by a nylon or feathered cone which is attached to a lightweight cork or rubber base.
The goal of badminton is to land the birdie on the opposing team’s court as much as possible, without them hitting it back. Unique to badminton, however, is the rule that you can only hit the birdie once and it has to be before it hits the ground – for example, not hitting it with your racquet after it bounces.
In addition to providing low-impact aerobic activity, badminton is believed to promote brain health by incorporating strategy, quick thinking and decision-making skills too.
Did you know that the game of shuffleboard dates back multiple centuries and was even played by King Henry VIII of England? There is a reason it’s stood the test of time – this game of skill is fun, keeps you moving and is super social.
After the mid-20th century, shuffleboard was slated as the classic “game for retirees” often being played on cruise ships and in retirement communities.
It’s making a popular comeback with younger generations now, however, as new leagues continue to pop up, and even bars and pubs are installing miniaturized shuffleboard courts in their places of business.
There are outdoor court and indoor table variations, but, essentially, shuffleboard involves sliding colored discs down a long, narrow pathway into designated scoring areas to gain points.
On a large floor or deck shuffleboard court, players will use a cue stick to slide their weighted disks. In table shuffleboard, players use their hands.
Five different scoring zones help players rack up points, as long as the disk they slide is ‘good’, which means it sits square inside a scoring zone section without overlapping borderlines or other scoring sections.
Depending on the type of shuffleboard game you and your opponent are playing, you might play until someone reaches 21 points or 75 points.
For older adults who utilize mobility aids like scooters or walkers, you know staying mobile is important. Shuffleboard rocks because it requires less intense physical activity but still gets you out, moving your body and having fun with friends.
As a form of water aerobics, aqua jogging offers loads of calorie-burning, strength-building exercise that reinforces good heart health.
Originally, aqua jogging was developed by sports therapists looking to help runners rehabilitate knee injuries. It’s trended into a movement with active people of all ages and abilities, however, and continues to grow in popularity.
True aqua jogging does require equipment, including a flotation belt (and you can add your own weights too), but you can attempt aqua jogging on your own by going to the shallower end of the pool.
The goal of aqua jogging is to mimic real jogging in a pool of water while maintaining normal biomechanics and not touching your feet to the floor of the pool.
Unlike jogging on dry land, aqua jogging generates intense resistance against your body, requiring you to engage more muscles and use more energy to propel yourself forward. This means increased calorie burn and great muscle and bone-building exercise.
If you have had your turn at water aerobic activities like water yoga and water pilates, you might want to give aqua jogging a whirl. To set off on the right foot and avoid injury, consult a knowledgeable instructor at your gym or the pool you attend or sign up for an aqua jogging class.
What are some less common physical activities you enjoy? Have you ever tried any of these games or sports? Please share in the comments below.