The CDC reports that most senior adults over 65 need at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of exercise a week. We know that regular exercise offers numerous physical benefits like increased mobility, strong cardiovascular health, and a lower risk of chronic illness—but the mental and social aspects of fitness can be tremendously beneficial, too.

Research shows that senior adults who are active in sports tend to have lower rates of anxiety, stress, mood swings, or depression. They also report an increase in self-confidence, resilience, social connections, and life satisfaction overall. 

4 Sports for Seniors of All Fitness Levels to Participate In 

Sports aren’t just for a younger crowd—shows like The Golden Bachelor reveal how many seniors are into pickleball. So before you think, “I’m too old for this,” consider how a stimulating, competitive (and fun!) athletic pursuit could enhance your well-being. These sports for seniors are definitive proof it’s not too late to start moving:


Not only is pickleball becoming one of the trendiest sports in the United States, it has especially caught on with older Americans. This activity combines racquetball and table tennis for a low-impact aerobic exercise, making it an ideal sport for seniors. 

As you age, you’ll improve motor skills and agility, boost cardiorespiratory function, and strengthen muscle, joint, and bone tissue. Pickleball is also easy to adjust for mobility limitations. For example, you can resize the court or slow the game pace to reduce the amount of running. And you can use a lighter paddle for less strain on your arms and wrists. 

Due to its vast appeal, many recreational centers, athletic clubs, and even local parks around the country now feature pickleball courts—some of these venues offer pickleball lessons, too. You can play this sport in singles or doubles, so joining in and learning the basics is easy. All you have to do is show up with a paddle. 


Golf is another enjoyable, low-impact outdoor sport for seniors. According to a recent study from the British Medical Journal, playing 18 rounds of golf (the equivalent of walking about 6.5 miles) can help lower your blood pressure and improve cardio-metabolic markers. 

You can also turn the game into a competition with friends or meet other golfers as you move from one hole to the next. If walking is a mobility issue, consider renting a golf cart from the club or playing fewer rounds.

Much like other sports, golf requires a specific skill and technique level. Don’t let this intimidate you—many clubs offer senior-friendly programs that will teach you the foundations in a welcoming, relaxed environment. So, whether you’re a novice or an expert with the nine iron, schedule a tee time at your local golf course.   


If you want to create an active lifestyle, but outdoor sports aren’t in your wheelhouse, consider bowling. This recreational game suits all fitness levels while promoting joint flexibility and coordination.

Bowling is also one of the most accessible sports for seniors because it allows for modifications. It’s easy to tweak the equipment and environment to fit your needs. Select a lighter ball to take some pressure off your shoulders, arms, and wrists. Or consider using a ramp and gutters if you cannot exert enough force to send your ball down the lane.   

To get started, join a league in your area or visit the local bowling alley with a couple of friends (bowling is also a hit with grandkids). Some alleys even designate certain hours and equipment just for seniors.


As a recent study showed that swimming (and other aquatic exercises) positively affects muscular balance, range of motion, body composition, and cognitive function. It’s a full-body workout that won’t cause undue stress on your joints—making it an ideal sport for seniors with arthritis or chronic pain.

If you need a lower-intensity exercise, choose swimming strokes that don’t require fast, dynamic movements. Or you could also opt for water aerobics, which will provide gentle resistance to build functional strength and stability.

If your local fitness club or recreational center has a pool, reserve a lane for yourself to swim laps for about 20–30 minutes at a time, or however long you can. You also might want to look into swimming or water aerobics classes explicitly tailored to senior adults and invest in quality swim gear for maximum comfort and safety. 

Make These Sports Part of Your Healthy, Active Lifestyle

Participating in athletics is an effective way to maintain a regular fitness routine and cultivate healthier long-term habits. Plus, you’ll have a blast once you find a sport that matches your interests and abilities. 

From cardiovascular activities that optimize heart function to strength-based activities that increase muscle tone and bone density, there are so many sports for seniors to choose from!