Health experts weigh in on benefits of seniors continuing to play sports

Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Experts weigh in on benefits of seniors playing sports
Health experts said seniors who continue to play in active sports will continue to see benefits as they age.

GLENDALE (KABC) -- Goalie Larry Singerman, 67, plays hockey two days a week, while his teammate John Guylas, 68, plays three to four times weekly.

"It's the best exercise you can get," Guylas said.

That might be true as their league organizer Paul LaGloire, who's going strong, just turned 88.

He started playing when he was 5 in Canada, played through high school, then amateur hockey. While it's his passion, he didn't have time to play until retirement.

"I was an office manager and an accountant, so I didn't abuse any part of my body. I probably inherited the right genes," he said.

Fit professional Jeanette Ortega said it's sensational to see people continue with a sport or activity that "moves" them.

"When you find something you love then that's going to get you going. It's fun and now the exercise doesn't become the 'have to,'" Ortega said.

Even if aches and pains result, there are solutions.

"With the technology we have nowadays anybody can do anything," said Dr. Bill Bergman of DISC in Marina Del Rey.

Dr. Bergman said when seniors play sports it's like a fountain of youth, helping to do far more than build muscle and burn calories - although both are certainly advantageous.

"The best thing to stop your brain from decaying is exercise," Bergman said.

And much like Paul, experts say you want to find a group that's about the same in age and activity level so that you can work out comfortably. No surprise, don't do too much too soon.

"As we grow older you kind of have to train less than more because you've already established your body," Bergman said.

Just don't tell LaGloire's team. They continue to push the envelope.

"In one game of an hour-and-a-half we have more ice time than any hockey players in the NHL," LaGloire said.