The sport of bowling has many benefits for bowlers of all ages.
Bowlers of leagues enjoy sharpening their skills and participating in practice and tournaments while professional bowlers make a living off their sport, winning tours and sponsorships.
Now, what about the individuals who haven’t pursued the artistic sport of bowling until their golden years?
What about the experienced seniors who want to try their hand at something new?
For these questing individuals, the sport of bowling might be just what they need.
The Benefits of Bowling for Seniors
There are many reasons for people of all ages to get out and try their hand at bowling, but for seniors, bowling comes with a special set of perks.
It helps seniors who may not have a lot to do or want to try something new get out of their routine and get into a social setting where they can talk and communicate with individuals.
It also helps keep the body active and keeps senses and skills sharp, an added bonus to a night of fun.
As the years go by and more and more seniors find themselves retiring and needing something to do to keep them busy, many turn toward the sport of bowling for physical activity.
Specialized nights or leagues provide seniors of all ages and skill levels a chance to get out of the house and enjoy an evening in a friendly environment.
By joining a senior league, individuals can make and maintain new friendships and get a chance to interact with a group a people at least once a week.
This helps keep loneliness at bay for some seniors that need a healthy dose of social interaction.
It also gives them a chance to master a new skill or enjoy a sport that they have always loved while having them work and communicate with teammates.
Besides social interaction and fun, the physical aspect of bowling is a huge reason for seniors to participate in bowling. The sport is low physical exertion, but the average bowler exerts about 250 calories per hour.
This means that the sport of bowling is perfect for seniors who want a chance to physically exercise without posing the risk of straining themselves. Learn more about the health benefits of bowling with this article.
The repetitive throwing of the bowling ball also helps individuals maintain or build muscle mass all over their body, as well as work out and stretch their joints.
Grip strength is also built and maintained through bowling since different types of throws require different grips and uses of strength.
Bowling also helps to keep hand-eye coordination skills sharp through the use of aiming and targeting the ball. Individuals must practice throwing their bowling ball with twists and style to try and get as many strikes as they can.
By seeing how far off their ball goes with certain throws, they can adjust their stance, release technique and certain aspects of their grip to change the trajectory and roll of their ball.
Even physically gripping the pen to keep track of scores and splits during games helps improve writing and coordination!
What many people don’t understand about bowling is that it is so much more than throwing a ball at some pins.
Strategy plays a huge part in the game of bowling and also provides the perfect mental exercise for all bowlers.
Bowlers must figure out how to aim their ball, target their throws, when to release and when to twist fingers for rolls and how their stance and approach affects their trajectory.
They also have to consider which sets of markings they want to use for aiming, what throw or style of release they should use to pick up more pins and how they can maneuver over different oil patterns in order to obtain strikes.
By participating in bowling, seniors are able to have the chance to think about the strategic maneuvers as well as work out how they can improve their game.
With so many variations and factors going into bowling, it’s the perfect low-key mental exercise that helps keep those synapses firing.
While the benefit of bowling with family members could technically fall under the social category, we felt that it was so important it deserved its own space.
Many times when seniors are around family, there is a bit of an age gap when it comes to social interactions.
As little kids run around outside, the adults usually find a shaded bench to sit on to watch the youngsters and talk about a variety of topics and memories.
While this type of social interaction is great, what about times the great-grandparents want to talk and interact with their energetic grandchildren?
During these times, bowling can be a huge tool to allow all ages of a family to interact.
By taking your family bowling grandparents and great-grandparents can gain additional social interaction with their grandchildren in a way that keeps the kids occupied and moving but puts them in one centralized area and creates chances for conversation.
Plus, bowling is just great family fun in general!
Bowling Tips for Seniors
Now, as fun as bowling is as a sport and while it has many benefits for seniors, some cautions need to be addressed.
Even the most skilled bowlers can get hurt if they are not careful with their posture, throwing technique and placement of body. Unfortunately for seniors, the risks increase.
That is why it is so important to make sure that as a senior you are using the correct bowling form and techniques to avoid injury so you can continue to enjoy the sport for the fun game it is!
The Best Bowling Ball for Seniors: Picking Your Bowling Ball
There are a few different things for seniors to consider when it comes to selecting the appropriate bowling ball. The first and foremost concern is safety, followed by ability and control.
Knowing safety limits and starting points, as well as what balls to look for, can help any senior of any bowling experience get an edge over their competitors.
My wife and I are fans of the Hammer Black Widow Legend Bowling Ball. It’s been an excellent purchase that’s served us well over the years.
Although, there are some other considerations also if you’re interested in a few different options. If you’re interested in reviewing the various bowling balls available on Amazon (click here).
Unless you are on a committed league or plan to bowl frequently, the chances of you having or needing your own bowling ball are slim.
That leaves you with the bowling balls offered by the alley for your perusal, and knowing how and which ball to select is the first key in getting all you can from bowling without getting hurt.
The rule to remember when choosing your ball is to start off with a ball that is 10% of your body weight at maximum.
That means if you weigh a light 140 pounds the maximum weight you should go up to is a 14-pound ball.
If you weigh somewhere in the middle, say 126 pounds, you want to round down when picking a ball, so your starting ball should be 12 pounds instead of 13.
However, if you are worried about grip strength or straining muscles, it is also good to start 2-3 pounds lower than your calculated maximum and see how you fair.
At the end of the day, you should use the heaviest ball that feels comfortable for you but just make sure to give yourself breaks and do not push yourself too far.
Remember, you want to be able to enjoy the sport, not throw your shoulder joint out!
Types of Bowling Balls
In the case that you do, in fact, wish to look into purchasing your own bowling ball, then things get a little more complicated than just worrying about the weight.
When it comes to a bowling ball, different factors affect the tricks and turns that ball provides, but that also means that tricker holds and throws are required.
For seniors, the best types of balls are probably going to be those that do not require many tricks or holds in order to deliver strikes and pins.
A good starting point would be to find a bowling ball that has a polyester cover and is either made with a pancake or symmetrical core.
This allows the ball to have a pretty straight roll which means less tricky throws are needed.
Seniors will also probably want a ball with a low hook, which again means fewer turns and tricks and more of a straightforward throw.
In order to get a low-hook ball, seniors should look into finding a bowling ball with a polyester cover and a high-gloss polish for best results.
So to sum it up, the best ball for a senior to look into for purchasing would be a bowling ball with a high-gloss polish, polyester cover, and either a pancake or symmetrical core.
These features will provide a durable bowling ball with an easy finish and low-hook, resulting in better throws and giving great results without a lot of strength or tricks needed to get points.
If frequent bowling or league play is in your future, then you might want to look into buying a pair of bowling shoes.
Bowling shoes are important in the fact that they help keep your bowling posture correct and give you a gentle glide when throwing to offset the heavy weight you are throwing.
By purchasing a pair of bowling shoes, you will be saving money as well as keeping yourself safe by switching shoes as you come in from outside.
Like all creatures of nature, we lose some ability and strength as we age.
When bowling as a senior, it’s important to know your limits and take steps to prevent old and new injuries from occurring and affecting your bowling.
Stretching before a game helps your performance overall, and don’t be afraid to support the latest fashion in supports! The main supports that you should look into would be wrist, back and knee support.
Each support contributes and helps you bowl in different ways. Wrists support help improve grip and arm strength when throwing the ball while preventing sprains from occurring.
Back supports help you maintain posture and keep you from putting too much stress on your back. Knee supports also help maintain posture and provide support, lessening the chance of injury and helping maintain balance.
Other supports can also come in handy, everyone has different abilities and can need different things to help support those abilities.
Exercise and Technique
The oldest known league bowler passed away at the young age of 105, and many 80 and 90-year-old individuals dominate the bowling scene.
These individuals and many others like them show that you don’t need to be young and fit to enjoy the sport of bowling.
Now while seniors may need some extra support to keep them at the top of their game, there are many ways that they can keep their physical prowess.
Exercises and techniques specifically designed to help improve older adult games have grown exponentially in the last 50 years, providing tools and resources to those who need a little extra movement to loosen up their joints.
Only you know the needs of your body and therefore only you know what exercises would be the best fit for you.
It’s important to look into these forms and postures since they are designed to keep you safe and injury free.
If looking online is not your strength, talk to your bowling buddies to see what they recommend or reach out to a physical therapist or doctor for tips and exercises.
The key advice to remember though is to always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program or movements.
Through the years, bowling has become known as “The Game for Everyone.”
This nickname was given to this All-American pastime due to its ability to be played by all ages, abilities and skill levels.
Though the game of bowling has perks for all walks of life, for seniors the game of bowling seems to have huge advantages.
By using the correct supports and equipment, seniors are able to enjoy a fun and engaging pastime while socializing with friends, family, and teammates.
They are also able to benefit from mental and physical exercise and stay active in a stress-free environment. Truly, bowling and seniors seem to be a match made in heaven.