My father -in-law was playing football into his 80s and only stopped when he moved too far away from where he played, the first thing my stepmother is going to do after lockdown is to go swimming, my father walks his dog religiously twice a day and my wife is taking a course in how to teach yoga in care homes. Clearly being active in later years is not just important for health reasons but also for our wellbeing and our sense of enjoyment. I have been out skied, out surfed and out sailed by men and women over 70 and fully intend to stay active in these sports that I love for as long as I possibly can.
Even in professional sport the role of the elder person is also evident. Roy Hodgson is managing Crystal Palace in the Premier League at the age of 73, there are numerous trainers and owners in the world of horse racing who are over 70 and it wasn’t that long ago that the master of cricket commentary Henry Blofeld hung up his mic, he was still touring his recollections shows up until Covid.
So, what are the current provisions for sport and exercise for those living in care homes? https://www.caredocs.co.uk/how-to-improve-exercise-and-activity-in-care-homes. is a good place to start any research into this and https://www.which.co.uk/later-life-care/home-care/active-mind-and-body/. is another useful article. Age UK are pushing https://www.ageuk.org.uk/our-impact/programmes/faaf. as a way of promoting exercise in these settings too. Yoga is seen as a viable and sensible option for maintaining movement and balance https://www.carehome.co.uk/news/article.cfm/id/1581619/Yoga-projects.... Shows the impact that yoga has had not just on the physical wellbeing of the person but also the mental health. Walking football continues to grow in popularity and cricket has leagues for over 60s and over 70s https://hcc60.play-cricket.com/. Skiing and surfing are gaining popularity as pastimes for seniors as well as these 2 articles indicate https://www.maturetimes.co.uk/skiing-seniors-downhill-way. https://puravidaadventures.com/surfing-at-70-if-i-can-well-why-not-you.
The old adage “that age is just a number” is more relevant today than ever before, more and more senior citizens are pursuing their favourite hobbies or taking up new activities. A good friend of mine shared a story of seeing 4 old boys cracking tins of lager at the first hole on his local golf course early in the morning of the first day of lockdown easing, the sheer joy of being out, playing sport and enjoying each other’s company evident in their faces. A couple I know who run dance classes were amazed at the number of over 70s who have joined just to enjoy the movement and expression that these classes allow, and I have also been tipped off about a disused quarry near where I live that is ideal for wild swimming by a neighbour in his late 70s.
The message is clear and simple, exercise is good for you, no one can deny that, and take it from me that the next time you think you can just drop in on that perfect green wave don’t just look out for the young bucks on their short boards, look over your shoulder for the man with grey hair riding like a pro on his long single fin board!
Experience is a term used a lot in sport and the generations who may not be as quick as they used to be sure have a lot of it!