When you enter retirement, it’s important to take some time for yourself to unwind and relax after working over the course of your career. But, it’s also important to fill your newfound free time with something that’s productive. After all, the last thing you want for your retirement years is to remain idle.
If you’re looking for something that’s enjoyable, healthy, and can guarantee an active retirement lifestyle, sports is your answer. Taking up sports in retirement is one of the best moves you can make for your health and finances.
- Cardiovascular Improvements
One of the main benefits of playing sports is cardiovascular health improvements. This is also true for older adults, and the fact is that regular exercise helps strengthen and maintain your cardiovascular system.
You don’t have to play an intense sport either or run a marathon to see cardio improvements and health benefits. According to a 2017 cardiovascular health study, even metrics like walking distance, walking speed, and weekly leisure time activity are associated with lower risk for cardiovascular disease. So, when you retire, get in the habit of walking, running, or playing a sport that makes you work on your cardio.
- Maintain A Healthy Weight
Another benefit of playing sports during retirement is bodyweight maintenance. Being overweight is a major risk factor for numerous diseases. Plus, being overweight can limit mobility and lead to a lower quality of life overall as you age.
Of course, diet plays a massive role in maintaining a healthy weight. But playing a retirement sport that gets you to regularly exercise also helps keep the pounds off.
You don’t have to play a serious contact sport or compete at a high level either. A walking or running club, casual sports league, or even solo sports like tennis can all provide enough weekly exercise to keep you in shape.
- Mental Health Benefits
According to the UK Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine, physical activity correlates with better mental wellbeing, higher self-esteem, and less stress. Furthermore, regular exercise can even help combat several common mental illnesses like depression and anxiety disorder.
By playing a sport in retirement, you’re keeping your mind as well as your body in shape. Team sports can be especially beneficial here since you can enjoy a sense of belonging and community with your team members.
- Save Money
To successfully retire, you need to have enough money for your nest egg to live comfortably. But you still want to enjoy your retirement years and take up hobbies to keep yourself busy.
Playing a sport is a perfect retirement hobby because it’s both enjoyable and affordable. You can often find free pick-up leagues or exercise groups to join so you don’t have to spend a penny. Alternatively, many senior sports leagues are affordable or are also free at local community centers.
- Stay Social
Having regular social interaction during retirement is important, but this is sometimes easier said than done. This is especially true if you enter retirement alone and don’t have much contact with friends and family.
By playing a sport in retirement, you get to make new connections in your community that you maintain week to week.
- Learn New Skills
A final reason to play a sport in retirement is to continue learning new skills. Sports force you to focus on self-improvement, letting you set goals to work towards and feel a sense of fulfillment when you reach them.
Even if it’s a small triumph like learning a new yoga pose or becoming better at golf, sports truly are the perfect outlet that let you focus on your mental and physical wellbeing.