Remember when games were all about fun, and falling down was a part of the game rather than a fear? At Elderly Independence, we firmly believe in the value of games for improving balance and fostering enjoyment in our senior years. Picture yourself engaged in a game, not just immersed in fun but also stealthily improving your balance. As an experienced advocate for senior health and wellness, I’ve seen the positive impact that games can have on a senior’s balance and overall well-being. If you’re a senior or caregiver seeking enjoyable ways to enhance balance, you’re in the right place.
Games and Balance: What Is The Connection?
Reasons for Games
- “Life is more fun if you play games.” ―
- “We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing!” ―
- “Games lubricate the body and mind.” ―
- “Games are the most elevated form of investigation.” ―
- The fundamentals of balance are: standing to develop strength in your legs, weight shifting, and walking also developing your leg strength. Simply put, you have to remain on your feet. Games allow you to have fun while remaining on your feet. the longer you say on your feet, the stronger your legs become the better your balance.
- Our eyes are a set of muscles that need to work. Trying to toss something onto something else is a visual exercise. Watching the bag get-go in a hole or wrapped around a pole exercises your eyes. The games below will develop your visual strength, And as we age we need more than we realize.
- Games give seniors more motivation to play and more socialization, and more fun. In turn, it develops leg strength and visual strength. The games below are games that keep seniors on their feet longer, which in turn helps their balance. Games are more fun and interesting and challenging to us giving us more incentive to stand on our legs.
- Only do as much as you can stand at the moment and hoping to increase that the more you play. Don’t push it. I like the Tai Chi rule of doing 70%
- These games below allow seniors to socialize more which is important in old age, so we do not get lonely.
- “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie Just play with others,
Get Out and Play a Game
Games Seniors Can Play To Help Their Balance
Cornhole (also known as bags, sack toss, or bean bag) is a lawn game in which players take turns throwing bags of plastic resin (or bean bags) at a raised platform (board) with a hole in the far end. A bag in the hole scores 3 points, while one on the board scores 1 point. Play continues until a team or player reaches or exceeds the score of 21 by means of cancellation scoring.
Cornhole can be played as singles, doubles, or crew format (4 players to a team). In doubles play, four players split into two teams. One member from each team pitches from one board and the other members pitch from the other. The first side of players alternate pitching bags until both players have thrown all four of their bags, then the players pitching from the opposing cornhole board continue to alternate in the same manner until all four of their bags are delivered and the inning or frame is completed. In singles play, two players play against each other. Delivery is handled in the same manner as doubles play. Both contestants pitch from the same cornhole board and alternate their pitches until all of their bags have been pitched, completing the inning or frame.
Lawn darts (also known as Javelin darts, darts, lawn darts or yard darts) is a lawn game for two players or teams. A lawn dart set usually includes four large darts and two targets. The gameplay and objective are similar to both horseshoes and darts. They are 12 inches (30 cm) long with a weighted metal or plastic tip on one end and three plastic fins on a rod at the other end. The darts are intended to be tossed underhand toward a horizontal ground target, where the weighted end hits first and sticks into the ground. The target is a plastic ring, and landing anywhere within the ring scores a point.
Horseshoes is a lawn game played between two people (or two teams of two people) using four horseshoes and two throwing targets (stakes) set in a lawn or sandbox area. The game is played by the players alternating turns tossing horseshoes at stakes in the ground, which are traditionally placed 40 feet (12 m) apart. Modern games use a more stylized U-shaped bar, about twice the size of an actual horseshoe.
Bocce ( Italian: [ˈbɔttʃe]), sometimes anglicized as bocce ball, bocci or boccie is a ball sport belonging to the boules family, closely related to British bowls and French pétanque, with a common ancestry from ancient games played in the Roman Empire. Developed into its present form in Italy, bocce is played around Europe and also in other areas with Italian immigrants, including Australia, North America, and South America. Initially played only by the Italian immigrants, the game has slowly become more popular with their descendants and more broadly.
Rules and play
Bocce is traditionally played on natural soil and asphalt courts 27.5 meters (90 ft) in length and 2.5 to 4 meters (8.2 to 13.1 ft) wide. Bocce balls can be made of wood (traditional), metal baked clay, or different kinds of plastic. Unlike lawn bowls, bocce balls are spherical and have no inbuilt bias. A game can be conducted between two players, or two teams of two, three, or four. A match is started by a randomly chosen side being given the opportunity to throw a smaller ball, the jack, depending on local custom), from one end of the court into a zone 5 meters (16 ft) in length, ending 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) from the far end of the court. If the first team misses twice, the other team is awarded the opportunity to place the jack anywhere they choose within the prescribed zone. Casual play is common in reasonably flat areas of parks and yards lacking a Bocce court, but players should agree to the minimum and maximum distance the jack may be thrown before play begins.
Washer pitching is a game, similar to horseshoes, that involves teams of players that take turns tossing washers towards a box or hole. The game has many variations and may be called washer pitching, washer toss, washers, huachas or washoes (which is based on the similarity to horseshoes).
The object of the game is to earn points by tossing metal washers, usually around two inches in diameter, and 1/8 inch thick, toward a hole, usually denoted by a can or PVC pipe, known as the cooter, often in a box. Washer pits and boxes vary in size and shape, but a standard for one-hole washers is 16 in × 16 in × 4 in, with a cylindrically-shaped cup (4½ inches in diameter and 5 inches in height) located in its upper surface. Boxes are placed approximately 20 feet away from each other, a distance often determined by a string attached to the front of each box. However, if a string is not attached to the box, one may take 10 paces from box-to-box, this will usually denote 20 feet.
Ladder toss (also known as ladder ball, monkey ball, ladder golf, ball rope, and hillbilly golf and other names) is a lawn game played by throwing bolas (two balls connected by a string) onto a ladder.
Harold Furry discovered the game on campgrounds in the early 1990s and believes it probably originated in such locations. Others speculate that the bola is a stand-in for a live snake, which cowboys in the western United States or Caballeros in Mexico used to throw at fences or branches for points
Incorporating games into a balance-improving routine can make the process not only effective but enjoyable for seniors. My background in promoting senior health has led me to discover a variety of games that contribute to improving balance. You can trust the recommendations and insights shared here are backed by thorough research, focusing on your safety and enjoyment. So, let’s embrace these games and work on improving our balance in an engaging and fun way.