Sporting Activities As Age Advances

November 11th, 2009 by admin Leave a reply »

ng ago middle-aged people would be quite happy to join their local golf club, perhaps sign up for an aerobics or pilates class and, when older, perhaps try a little bowling. But for many years that was about the sum total of sports that encouraged the participation of the older members of our society.

But that seems to be changing as people recognise the benefits of regular exercise and realise how much enjoyment can be gained from trying out some different leisure pastimes. Witness the recent surge of interest in Nordic walking, with hundreds of clubs and organised walks now available all over the country. It claims to be the fastest growing fitness activity in the world and owes its history to cross-country skiers in Finland, who resorted to summer training walks using the ski poles that they used to propel themselves across the snow during the winter months. The growth of the activity can be put down to its popularity amongst the older ages groups. It’s cheap, non-competitive and caters for all ability levels.

Other sports that are now attracting people due to new derivatives and equipment include surfing. Particularly in the UK, where sea temperatures are not always suited for bathing, the use of wetsuits and new-style body boards has opened up the sport of surfing to many new groups. Younger children can try out their techniques in the relative safety of shallow waters and smaller waves, while older generations can do likewise, by donning a warm wetsuit and get in amongst the waves on beaches all over the UK, and at any time of year.

Skiing, of course, has always had plenty of fans in the UK, but the ability to participate in this winter pastime as always relied on an individuals ability to afford a winter holiday to a ski resort. That restricted the amount of time anyone could spend skiing unless they visited one of the UK’s dry ski slopes. These plastic cover slopes often failed to satisfy those used to skiing on snow. Runs were short, poor weather often took the gloss off a dry slope visit and landings were hard. Injuries, particularly for older skiers, were painful and slower to heal; a factor that stopped many from making repeat visits to these outdoor facilities.

The newer indoor ski slopes that provide real snow and more controlled conditions may have found an answer to all those negatives and could provide the facilities all those mature skiers were looking for. Combining ideal skiing conditions, with convenience, onsite cafes and a choice of instruction programmes aimed at all age groups is set to see these new style indoor ski centres flourish.

And it’s not just skiing that the older generations can enjoy. Snowboarding would have seemed an activity exclusively reserved for the younger, more adventurous age groups. As an older skier contemplating a try out at snowboarding, you would have been faced with many obstructions; nowhere to try out the basics before you got to the ski resort, no instruction programmes to get you beyond the basic techniques and a lack of safe environments to get you started. Answers to all this obstacles can be provided by the real snow indoor centres. The slopes are not too steep, custom-built layouts can be designed and built to suit beginners and fully qualified instructors can be used in group or individual sessions to help anyone experience snowboarding for the is first time.

So perhaps over the next few years we’ll be joining our grandparents surfing in the waves or skiing on the slopes. Sports like running, swimming and cycling already have age-related competition structures aimed at older people with many seventy plus years olds taking part in races that just a few years ago, even younger athletes would have thought twice about. The revival of veteran sporting activity may be upon us and no sport is off limits it seems.

By: Mark Bartley