With dozens of activities available at independent and assisted living facilities, we’ve compiled a list of the best physical games for seniors. Whether the goal is to exercise, socialize or stimulate the mind, these four games are perfect for today’s active senior citizens.
Bocce Ball’s history goes back further than one would ever guess. The sport’s first reference dates back to 5200 B.C., in fact. English scientist, Sir Francis Petrial, discovered a painting of two children playing the sport of Bocce Ball in an ancient Egyptian Tomb. By 600 B.C. the sport had made its way to Greece, eventually gaining popularity in Holland, Flanders and Belgium, as well. In 1896, the sport took center stage, with the first Bocce Olympiad being held in Athens. The Bocce boom officially began taking place in the United States by the late 1980’s, paving the way for it to become one of the most popular games for seniors today.
Open Bocce is perfect for casual Bocce players due mostly to the ability to play seemingly anywhere. Eight balls, plus a pallino (smaller ball) can be used for up to 2, 4, 6 or 8 players on the same court. A random participant is chosen to throw the pallino, which is the same player who tosses the first bocce ball. This participant is now considered “inside” because his or her ball is now closet to the pallino, by default. This player loses his second turn until a different player puts their ball closer to the pallino. All players now throw their own ball, with the closest to the pallino awarded one point. Additional points are earned for every one of the leader’s balls closer to the pallino than opponent’s balls. The frame is over after all players have tossed their balls, with 13 total points awarded for the overall winner.
Bocce Ball is ideal for stress relief, mental stimulation, and can improve flexibility.
Yoga is a highly effective practice for senior citizens. The controlled body positions, stretches and focus are perfect for mental and physical well-being. Achieving deep spiritual tranquility is a main priority for all yoga participants. The practice of yoga is believed to be more than 5,000 years old, and remains common today, especially among seniors. Yoga is a great way to stretch and exercise one’s body and spirit.
Of the multiple benefits from yoga, weight loss is at the top of the list. With the weight reduction, metabolism is balanced, as well. Blood sugar and blood pressure could lower as a result of yoga participation. Increased muscle strength, flexibility and balance could come courtesy of yoga. The activity has been proven to improve cardiovascular and blood circulation.
Shuffleboard began being played in English pubs around the 15th century. The game has constantly changed and adapted with the times, but the rules have remained generally the same. For seniors, this is by far one of the most popular sports to play today.
As stated in the previous outline, rules of the game can be altered, but the objectives have always been in place. Outdoor and indoor versions of shuffleboard can vary, while undoubtedly requiring skill to emerge victorious. A player wins when reaching a score of 15, but some tournaments may require 21 points as the benchmark. Taking alternate turns, each player slides their four weights across the opponent’s board. The objective is simple: slide your weights into the area with the highest available scoring value. Players can knock an opponent’s weights off the board with their own weights, or use them to protect their score on the other end of the board.
Shuffleboard reduces stress, while increasing heart rate at the same time. Mental stimulation is an added benefit to the obvious workout for several muscle groups.
It is recommended that all human beings, especially seniors, should incorporate at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise in their daily routine. A great way to hit that goal is by participating in line dancing classes. Line dancing is great for the heart, and above all else keeps you healthy and in shape. The activity is perfect for beginners who may not have the greatest rhythm or timing when it comes to the world of dance.
Line dancing has a plethora of health benefits. The obvious benefits include improving stamina, balance and posture. The constant movement has been shown to lower stress and improve stamina over time. In addition, an avid line dancer should see a lowered risk of diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and heart disease.