Sports and Activities for the Over 50's

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Posted on: 01 September 2015 by John Bell

Many people stop playing sport once they reach a certain age, thinking that sporting activities are too rough and reliant on athletic ability. In this article we have a look at some of the best sports, games and activities for the over 50

As we get older, it becomes even more important to try and stay active, both in terms of mental and physical health. Participating in exercise has been shown to improve your overall health and your sense of well-being, and according to AARP people who regularly exercise are at a reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease and mental illness. 

Sport is a major pastime for millions of people in the UK and internationally, but generally speaking most people tend to play sports in their 20s, 30s and 40s, and then stop once they reach 50. Whether it's down to the athletic requirements, the competitive nature of other players, the physicality of contact sports or just down to health concerns (anything from heart problems to dodgy knees), sport is often considered to be a young person's pursuit. 

But this doesn't have to be the case, as there are plenty of sports, games and activities open to people over 50. In this article, we'll take a look at some of the best options if you're looking to stay active in your later years:

Swimming
Swimming is an excellent choice for older generations, as it's an excellent form of exercise and can be taken at your own pace. It's also something you can do alone, or with other people making it a strong option for those who want to socialise while they exercise, without the competitive nature of other players. Swimming promotes cardiovascular health, muscle strength and elasticity and has been proven to reduce stress. It's also a low impact sport, meaning it puts minimal strain on your bones and joints. 

Walking Football
You might have seen this on TV (most notably the advert for Barclays), and it's an excellent choice for people over 50. Walking football follows the same rules as normal football, except that there's no running allowed. This makes it a great sport for older people, as you retain the essence of the game and the competitive edge, without putting too much strain on your bones, joints or your heart. 

Golf
Golf is one of the most popular sports for the over 50s, and is a superb choice if you're looking for regular, enjoyable exercise. Playing golf build flexibility in the muscle and joints, because it requires a full range of motions in order to swing your club effectively. It also involves a lot of walking - in fact, playing golf just two or three times a week will mean you'll likely be walking between 4-8 miles a week. This helps keep your cholesterol levels low and promotes a healthy metabolism, and also gives you some low-impact cardiovascular exercise. Golf is also a really good option for those with mild disabilities, at it can still be played by people with hearing loss or mild athritis. 

Rambling Rugby
You might consider rugby to be firmly a young person's sport, but actually it's becoming increasingly popular with older generations. 'Rambling' rugby involves low-impact, low-paced sessions with no running, and allows both men and women to get involved in relaxed training sessions or even full games. Many clubs all over the country now offer this option, and there's numerous events and over 50 leagues you can get involved in. Given the upcoming Rugby World Cup, rambling rugby could see a surge in participation in the latter half of 2015. 

Tennis
Tennis can be played by people at nearly any age, as the two players (or four if you're playing doubles) can dictate the pace and intensity of the game very easily. If you're fit and healthy, you can play a quick-paced game with lots of running and changing directons, or you prefer low-impact cardiovascular exercise, you can simply hit the ball to one another over the next, with limited sprinting or quick changes of direction. 

There are numerous other sports you can participate in, depending on your own situation and any relevant health issues. Whether it's squash, badminton, bowling or one of the options above, you should try and find a sport that suits you, as the health benefits can be considerable.

Brighton and Hove council, who run a range of sport and physical activity opportunities for people over 50, have put together a grea list of the potential benefits from participating in sports when you're older: 

  • Reduced risk of heart attack or stroke
  • Great way to beat stress
  • Improve confidence
  • Great for socialising and making new friends
  • Healthy joints and bones
  • Healthy lungs
  • Reduced risk of developing certain cancers
  • Help you control your weight
  • Lower blood pressure and reduced cholesterol

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get active! 

 

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