Are you looking for something to do with your Friday or Saturday nights? If you’re a senior citizen who already loves the sport of bowling, chances are that you’ve asked yourself the following question…

Can old people play bowling?

Well, we’re here to answer that question with a resounding yes!

Seniors can make just as much magic throwing a bowling ball from the foul line as younger bowlers can! Some of the best bowlers we’ve played with are senior citizens. With decades of bowling alley experience at their disposal, the top senior bowlers use finesse and craftiness to outscore and outplay bowlers half their age.

So, when you ask…

What is the age limit for bowling?

…you’re asking the wrong question. There is no age limit for the sport! If your arms, back, and legs are in good enough shape to repeatedly throw a ball towards the pin pocket, you should feel free to play! And if you have limitations or injuries that make playing the game a bit harder, most pro shops and/or bowling alleys have equipment that can help you. From wrist guard and back braces to metal ball delivery systems made for those who can’t consistently swing a bowling ball, there are plenty of ways that you can stay in the game and enjoy yourself in the process.

And once you’re at the lanes, there are some definite plusses for your well-being worth considering.

Is bowling good exercise for seniors?

Very much so! Bowling is a health-conscious form of exercise for everyone, especially senior bowlers! If you don’t get out of the house much or your everyday schedule cuts into your walking time, a weekly bowling date or two can do you a lot of good. In fact, bowling has several health benefits for seniors that could very well improve your overall quality of life.

What are the benefits of seniors bowling?

Bowling, just like other forms of exercise, comes with several major health benefits. When you bowl regularly (say, once a week or so), your body is the benefactor and the beneficiary. Here are some of the health benefits that a regular bowling routine provides to seniors:

  • Lowered cholesterol
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Decreased stroke risk
  • Decreased heart attack risk
  • Decreased risk for diabetes
  • Better blood circulation
  • Better oxygen utilization
  • Improved bone density

To put it frankly, senior bowlers are healthier on the whole than seniors without a proper exercise outlet. With the right approach at the lanes, you can do wonders for your physical, emotional, and mental health.

With that being said, we’ve compiled an extensive list of bowling tips tailored to active seniors just like you.

8 Insider Bowling Tips for Seniors

Find bowling balls that work with your physical ailments and limitations.

Do you have arthritic shoulders? Does your thumb balloon up when it’s forced to flex unnaturally? Do you struggle with the strength of you grip and your overall dexterity?

Before buying a bowling ball, consider the effects it’s have on you while you’re rolling it. You’re going to be repeating a relatively unnatural swinging motion over and over again, so it’s a smart idea to invest in bowling balls that limit the potential problems associated with that. If that means reducing the weight or getting custom-drilled finger holes, so be it!

Don’t try to overpower your bowling ball all of the time.

Hitting the pins with maximum force isn’t always the most effective approach on the lane. A steady bowling swing that goes from shoulder height to waist height (and back again) with ease will do much more consistent damage than a wild, forceful swing. And not only will you knock more pins down with a balanced swing, you’ll save your throwing arm the stress and strain that erratic swinging can place on it.

Frequent your local bowling alley with other senior bowlers

Do you have a family member or two who love to bowl? Is there a group of senior bowlers that meets at the lanes near your house? Bowling is, at its heart, a communal sport and a fun communal experience! When you throw a gutter ball, it’s fun to laugh about it with others who’ve been there. When you toss a strike, the high fives and fist bumps are the very best part!

Whether you’re interested in tournament play or just want to play three games or so with a small group of your closest friends, it’s a good idea to find other seniors who enjoy spending time at the bowling alley!

Look into wrist supports and other helpful protective bowling equipment options

If you’re worried about reduced bone density or the strain that your ball weight-to-body weight ratio will put on your body, it’s time to roll over to your local pro shop. Or, just click over to your favorite online marketplace in search of protective equipment such as wrist supports, knee braces, elbow guards, and compressive sleeves for your arms. When you bowl, you should be comfortable and free of injury concerns. This is the way to do just that!

Invest in bowling shoes with proper insoles and support

Whether you throw off the opposite foot from your throwing arm or the other foot, it’s crucial to have a pair of bowling shoes that provide the right fit for you. Your entire swing and shot balance can be thrown off by unsteady, unbalanced footwork. Rented or ill-fitting bowling shoes could impede your movement, increase your chances of injury, and simply hurt your feet. When looking for the right equipment for your bowling exploits, aim for a pair of quality shoes. They’re worth it.

All-age or senior league play is a great way to improve your confidence at the foul line

There are hundreds of senior bowling leagues and thousands of other league options out there for you to choose from. There are also countless bowling clubs and senior-focused events that will help you both meet people and improve your game. Whether you want to play with bowlers of all ages or jump into a league dedicated to folks in your age group, you’ve got plenty to choose from!

Stretch your legs and entire body before a session at your local bowling lanes

The benefits of stretching can’t be overstated for bowlers. That’s true for children, young adults, middle-aged folks, and senior citizens alike! Bowling is a sport that is best played with a limber, flexible body. Before you pick up your bowling ball and head to the foul line, take ten to twenty minutes to stretch out your entire body. Pay special attention to trouble spots like your throwing shoulder and calves. Do your best to get your heart pumping and your body loose. Your game-to-game scores and overall health will thank you.

Be the best senior bowler you can be and avoid unnecessary strain

Act your age. Don’t overdo it and overtax yourself at the bowling alley. Body recovery times decrease as we age, as does our ability to bounce back from sprains and strains. If you go overboard, you’re going to be less inclined to keep bowling on a regular basis. Or, your body just won’t allow it. Bowl smart and let the game come to you, senior style.

Have as much fun as possible once the game begins!

The best senior bowlers keep it light and enjoy their time at the lanes. Getting too stressed and nitpicking every mistake will only cause you emotional (and potential physical) discomfort. Make the lanes a place of rest, respite, and enjoyable competition. No matter who you’re playing again and what the stakes are, you deserve to have a good time playing the sport you love.

Best Bowling Ball For Seniors

While there are many types of bowling balls available at the bowling alley to choose from, it can be time-consuming to find the right size and spacing of the finger holes, the right weight, and if you do find a ball that works — there is little guarantee it is going to be waiting for you next time you bowl. Success comes from doing the same good actions again and again and again.  With that in mind, we recommend owning your ball rather than searching for the right fit amongst the many balls offered at bowling alleys.  

When selecting a bowling ball, a good ‘rule of thumb’ is selecting a ball that is ten percent of your body weight. If you are 140 pounds then choose a 14-pound ball, if you are 146 pounds; go down, not up in ball weight, i.e., select a 13 pound ball, not fifteen pounds.  Use common sense, if your muscles are not toned well by a daily exercise regimen, and go lighter rather than heavier in weight. 

To assist in what bowling ball would work best for senior bowlers, these three bowling balls on would be a good starting point for one’s consideration.

  1. Hammer Black Widow Legend Ball: Nothing ‘hits’ like a hammer is the tag line of this Brunswick
    brand of bowling balls and is highly recommended. The ball is composed of a hybrid cover stock, an asymmetrical core, and a Powerhouse Factory Finished polished shine. There are a variety of weights to choose from, ranging from 12 pounds up to sixteen pounds, to fill the needs of all senior bowlers and with higher price offset with a three-year manufacturer’s warranty. The ball works well on medium to heavily oiled lane conditions. The ball has an asymmetrical core, which means not in equal proportion top to bottom, as are the symmetrical core balls and it provides power to the ball on the ‘backend’ aka ‘the hook’ when initially released and carries through as it nears the pin.

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  3. DV8 Poly Bowling Ball: A moderately priced bowling ball composed of a polyester cover stock, ‘pancake’
    core, with a high gloss finish. It comes in an abundance of weights — 6, 8, 10, 11, and 12 through 16
    pounds for our senior ‘lightweights.’ It also comes in basic black, fuchsia, and green.  This durable ball is a good choice for beginning bowlers. A ‘pancake’ core refers to a thin layer of pancake weight block inside the ball and a large amount of filler material. The weight will make the ball move as the bowler rolls it, with little ability of the ball to ‘hook’ in. Success comes from doing the same good actions again and again, and with the DV8 Poly Bowling Ball, senior bowlers can focus on their aim and seeing the results of that aim. 

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  5. Brunswick Magnitude 035 Bowling Ball: The Brunswick Magnitude 035 comes moderate to higher in price and is available in 12 to 16-pound weights, just like the Hammer Black Widow Legend Ball.  It differs from the Hammer Black Widow in that its core is symmetrical at the core, which gives bowler the control on medium to dry lane conditions. The ball will roll as bowler places it at release down the alley. With drier lane conditions it can ‘hook.’ The Brunswick Magnitude 035 will give the bowler consistent results to where the ball is placed on the lane arrows and power when hitting the pins.
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