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Sport activities for people over 50 years old

By Dominic Bertrand on 24 May 2018

The writer is a retired Scientist

This article is intended for people who are over 50 years old.

There are different types of people. If you suffer from:

  • Diabetes = Please seek advice from a GP or a nurse, especially regarding diet and medication
  • Heart disease = You'll need special kind of exercises at the beginning, with medical control
  • Hypertension = You'll need to control the impact of the physical exercises on the arterial tension
  • Obesity = It is more important to follow a special diet in addition to training to optimise the effect on reducing the weight

Here are some of my golden rules...

#1 Motivation and perseverance

Have patience

Don't give up after 3 - 4 weeks because you feel you're not getting the results.

Choose the sport you love - or could love

For example:

  • Pilates, yoga = Very good for the bones and joints, flexibility of the body
  • Swim = Very good for cardiovascular training and a good start - or an adequate complement - with another physical activitiy, especially for those who are obese
  • Running = You'll need good equipment e.g. shoes. This is very good for cardiovascular training, but take care of your joints
  • Gym = Very good for cardiovascular training and reducing weight

Do the sport/activity with somebody else or in a group

Training alone is harder with the risk of stopping after few weeks. A good approach is to start to in a sports and fitness centre and take part in some of the regular sports classes e.g. yoga, pilates, gym, etc.

#2 Start slowly, progressively, but regularly

Aim to do the activity 2 - 3 times per week. This is ideal and more efficient.

#3 Have a goal

This is essential.

For example, you may want to reduce weight, improve your wellbeing, or do cardiovascular training.

#4 Adapt your goal

Especially in relation with your evolution.

Have the will always to progress in the next 2 - 3 months

Aim for something better each time.

Don't give up

With age physical progresses are slow, but the results will come step by step.

Relaxing in Ramna Park, Dhaka, after a jog

More tips on the session...

Usually 1 hour per session is adequate

But this will differ from sport to sport. For example, swimming one hour is too long training if you do this intensively.

Don't eat too much before the session

Having breakfast two hour (or little eating one hour) before the session is adequate.

Drink sufficiently

During the session and specially after it.


It's normal to be tired after a session as it means you have done good training. Don't hesitate to rest. For example, have a sleep or an afternoon nap for half-an-hour.


If you have pain in some muscles after the session try to reduce on the next session the exercises which may be the cause of the pain. Come back to this exercise progressively, aiming to get back to your same level of intensity.

Seek help

If you observe something abnormal after the session, e.g. unusual headaches, chest pain, etc., go and see a nurse or GP before going to your next session.