Many people have the mental image of a senior citizen or retiree as a hunched over, cane-wielding person covered with wrinkles. Add a little gray hair, a sweater vest and plaid pants and the image is complete. However, as times change and more senior citizens are choosing healthy lifestyles, that mental image may be a thing of the past.
Age Does Not Equal Atrophy
Now, instead of being the old people sitting on the park bench watching the young folk enjoy life, more and more senior citizens are out there playing the game with just as much enthusiasm and skill as people half their age. Maybe they are not as graceful as they used to be and in some cases recovery takes a little longer, but Baby Boomers have decided that just because they have reached a certain age does not mean that life has to be limited and boring!
It turns out that not just Baby Boomers but senior citizens of all ages are engaging in sports, either for the first time or as a continuation of a lifelong passion for their chosen sport. From basketball to hockey, tennis to softball, and everything in between, senior citizens indulge in every kind of sport there is.
Why Are Sports So Important to Baby Boomers?
Why are they so involved? For many, the reason is simple: old does not mean dead. Many seniors have found that sports have allowed them to feel younger and more vital, and they include the added benefits of regular exercise without being stuck on a treadmill or stationary bike.
Just as important as the physical benefits are the emotional benefits that come from participating in sports and having regular contact with people with similar interests and outlooks on life. Many seniors say that their sports team members are an excellent support network, as everyone helps each other through the inevitable hiccups that life brings.
Welcome the Challenges!
There are some obstacles to overcome for Baby Boomers who are engaging in any type of physical fitness routine, including team sports. For example, limbs that were once limber might take a little more stretching out, and injuries will likely take longer to recover from. Despite this, today’s senior citizens continue to enjoy their active lifestyle.
Some say that it is the competition that keeps them going, while others claim it’s a desire to prove the old adage that age is just a number. The majority of Baby Boomers who participate in sports, regardless of what kind, claim that the biggest benefits come from overcoming challenges and staying young and fit. They report a greater satisfaction with their lives than their sedentary counterparts, which is worth the work.
Play What You Love
Many fitness centers offer programs that are specifically designed for the older generation, and there are also personal trainers who can help you increase your strength and stamina. However, don’t limit yourself to exercising in a gym or walking around a track.
If you are interested in joining a sports team for people of a certain age, you can contact your local gym or senior citizens’ center to see if they know of any local teams. If you have been active in sports prior to this, some of your old contacts may be able to provide some information about teams.
However, the most important thing to do is remember how it felt to be young and strong, swishing down the ski slope (a personal favorite) or swinging a bat with all your strength. Remember the feeling of power that came from knowing you were performing at your best. Take those feelings and run with them. After all, life is way too short to let age stop you from doing the things you love to do.
Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage. For more information visit www.MediGapAdvisors.com.