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USA LEISURE OPINION

Tuesday July 9 2019

Sports for all ages & longevity



James Patefield

JAMES PATEFIELD | Outreach PR Executive




Sports for all ages & longevity

There are so many sports available to you which can be enjoyed. Some of them you can even be one of the best no matter your age, as award-winning stairlift supplier Stairlifts Akron has detailed in this handy guide. To inspire you even further, the spotlight has been shone on someone in each sport who has been playing the game for decades…

Athletics

The world of athletics has a very supportive network for older athletes. There’s the World Masters Athletics organization, for one thing, which is in place to organize, regulate and administer athletics for men and women who are aged 35 years old and over. Then there’s the USA Track & Field (USATF) Masters Grand Prix, which allows any runner aged 40 years old and over to compete so long as they have joined the USATF or are members of clubs which are part of the organization. With more than $80,000 in awards annually, it’s definitely worth considering.

As well as the financial incentive, there are many more reasons why you should consider trying your hand at athletics as you get older. Choose an event which involves running and the health benefits will include a reduced risk of suffering from diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease. This form of fitness lowers the effect of depression and anxiety too, as well as improves bones, muscles and joints found throughout the body.

Not a fan of running? Then you could always opt for field events like Canadian Olga Kotelko. She became the oldest recorded female indoor high jumper, long jumper and triple jumper at the World Masters Athletics Championships in 2014 at the age of 95 years old (she also competed as an indoor sprinter at the event). Another extraordinary fact about Kotelko is that she didn’t take an interest in getting involved in athletics until she was 77 years old.

Speaking to BBC News in the UK, the five-foot-tall Canadian pointed out: "I think your age is just a number. It's not your birthday, it's how you age which makes the difference.

"It's your attitude to all the things that happen in your life that plays the biggest part."

Get inspired by Stanisław Kowalski

If you’re after a role model for running into elderly age, may we suggest the Polish centenarian Stanisław Kowalski. After all, he became the oldest man across Europe to run a 100-metre sprint in a time of 32.79 seconds in 2014. Then at the 2015 Polish Veterans Championships when 105 years old, Kowalski ran another 100-metre sprint — this time in 34.50 seconds.

Golf

Your body will benefit so much from you enjoying a few rounds of golf for various reasons. The setting of the sport means that you’ll be able to enjoy the fresh air while getting active, for instance. The huge courses mean that there’s lots of walking to enjoy from teeing off to reaching the green for each hole played too, some of which will involve uphill jaunts too.

Each time you swing a golf club and twist your body, you’ll also be providing your muscles with a workout which will work to improve your core strength, flexibility and balance. Don’t forget that carrying golf clubs will be building your muscles as well.

You may not realize it, but golf acts as a workout for your brain too due to the amount of concentration you’ll be putting in to get each shot just right. Play on the same course and there’s the added benefit of being able to memorize each hole and remembering which club will be best for the round of golf to come. It’s memory skills like these which can help battle against possible dementia in later life.

Get inspired by Gary Player

Gary Player may be 83 years old, but he’s still not ready to step away from the golf course. Throughout his storied career, the South African has won nine major championships and 167 tournaments — including nine Senior Tour majors and 24 official PGA TOUR wins. His most recent major accolade was when he was victorious in South Africa’s Nelson Mandela Invitational in 2004.

When interviewed by Golf Digest in November 2018, Player stressed: “I don't see myself as old. I look at myself as young. The more you exercise, the better you feel.”

Snooker

You certainly should consider playing snooker, even as you approach old age. As well as being a non-contact sport that can be played in a comfy indoors environment within a competitive or social setting, there is no advantage when it comes to age or gender when pursing this activity.

Snooker, as with all other cue sports, can also keep you active while you’re immersed in an enjoyable atmosphere. It’s good for your health and wellbeing when it comes to the fact it can improve your concentration (both your focus and your hand-eye coordination), boost your strength and increase your muscle control too.

You definitely shouldn’t feel too old to start getting competitive when playing snooker either, especially when you take note of statistics compiled by Sportradar — the Official Data Provider for World Snooker. According to their research, the average age of a snooker champion when focusing on major ranking events was 31.01 years old during the 2011/12 season. By the 2017/18 season though, this number had risen considerably to 37.48 years old.

What’s more, the iconic Ronnie O'Sullivan in 2018, at the age of 42, stated that he aims to keep playing snooker until he’s at least 50 years old. "I'll keep pitching up, I'll keep playing, and I'll probably be here until I'm 50 so get used to me", the multi-time world champion said to Sky Sports.

Get inspired by Fred Davis

Derbyshire-born Fred Davis was an eight-time world champion snooker player who was still reaching the semi-finals of World Championship tournaments in 1978 at the incredible age of 64. In fact, Davis, who was awarded an OBE for his phenomenal career, didn’t hang up his cue until he was 78 years old in 1992 — a feat which made him the oldest professional sportsman across the globe at the time.

 

Hopefully by now, you’ve been inspired to pick up a snooker cue, put on your running shoes or head to your local golf course and get involved in sport no matter your age. Of course, this is just a selection of sports which you can get involved in. We wish you the best in whichever activity you choose, in the hopes it allows you to get fitter and maybe even see you record achievements you didn’t think possible.

 

Sources:

https://www.lifeline24.co.uk/sport-and-fitness-activities/

https://50plusworld.com/best-age-friendly-sports-for-older-adults/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/get-inspired/31510504

https://www.sportradar.com/news-archive/world-snooker-golden-oldies-lead-by-example/

https://www.skysports.com/more-sports/snooker/news/12243/11352917/ronnie-osullivan-vows-to-continue-playing-snooker-until-the-age-of-50

http://www.worldsnooker.com/players/fred-davis/

https://www.yourcareeverywhere.com/life-stages/healthy-aging/the-health-benefits-of-running-for-seniors.html

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-27207219

https://www.medicaldaily.com/stanislaw-kowalski-104-year-old-runner-breaks-record-100-meter-dash-europe-282362

https://www.theversed.com/10779/meet-stanislaw-kowalski-the-105-year-old-sprinter/#.Ct3rp0bY9M

http://www.worldgolfhalloffame.org/gary-player/



"It's your attitude to all the things that happen in your life that plays the biggest part"
Olga Kotelko








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