Sport and getting active is not something that is reserved for the young. In fact, exercise is as, if not more, important as we age.
That’s because once you are over the age of 50, things such as muscle mass and strength can reduce by 40 to 50%. And shortness of breath, weight gain and loss of balance become more common, which in turn can lead to troublesome health conditions in old age.
By getting active, you can reduce cholesterol and the risk of heart disease, help fight against arthritis and osteoporosis, reduce stress, improve your immune system and increase muscle mass. Plus, it helps to keep you socially active which is great for your mental wellbeing!
There are lots of different options in Perth which cater for older people aged 50 and up. The activities are less strenuous but still provide huge health benefits. We’ve highlighted a few of them below.
This is a sport becoming more and more popular by the day. Football is our national sport which obviously means it is tremendously popular. As people age, they find it more and more difficult to play the sport at the same intensity as they are used to.
And, that’s where walking football comes in. The clue is in the name – there is no running or jogging around.
Other key rules include; the ball must stay below head height, no slide tackles and no offsides. Apart from that, it’s pretty much the same game that you loved playing back in the day. It’s also a fantastically social sport and is great for meeting new people!
Two great options for walking football in Perthshire are Saints in the Community, and Scone Thistle Community Football Club.
Saints in the Community run mixed gender walking football sessions every Thursday evening from the McDiarmid Park AstroTurf. The sessions take place from 7:30PM – 8:30PM and cost £4.
Scone Thistle Community Football Club offer three sessions a week from the AstroTurf at Scone Ball Park. Two of the sessions are mixed gender – Wednesdays from 2PM – 3PM, and Saturdays 11AM – noon – however in what is a very unique offering, Scone offers women only classes on Wednesday evenings 7PM – 8PM.
The sessions at Scone Thistle cost £2 each.
It’s one of the most popular activities among older people and there are lots of places where you can get involved right across Perthshire – thanks to Live Active Leisure!
Swimming is low-impact exercise and helps to improve your flexibility, as well being excellent cardio exercise and good for the heart. Swimming is low-impact exercise and helps to improve your flexibility, as well being excellent cardio exercise.
What makes swimming very popular is that because it’s low-impact, it reduces stress on the joints so is perfect for anyone suffering from joint pain or arthritis. It also reduces the risk of picking up any muscular injuries too.
Live Active operates venues across Perthshire at; Perth Leisure Pool, Live Active Blairgowrie, Strathearn Community Campus, Breadalbane Community Campus and Live Active Loch Leven. You can find more information on the Live Active website.
You don’t have to be Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy to enjoy a game of golf, and there are so many benefits to this great sport.
First of all there’s plenty of walking – especially if you are as wayward off the tee as me – including uphill and downhill parts which will provide cardio exercise.
If you carry your bag that will also help to improve your muscular strength and swinging a golf club helps to strengthen your arms and core whilst improving flexibility.
From a mental aspect, golf requires a fair amount of concentration and tactical thinking which helps to keep the mind sharp and it’s also a very sociable sport which can be enjoyed with friends or your partner.
There are competitions and outings for seniors only, and it can also be played mixed gender too. Plus, in Perthshire we are spoiled for choice when it comes to fantastic 18 and 9-hole golf courses.
Pilates is becoming increasingly popular among the elderly – I mean its creator, Joseph Pilates, practiced his methods well into his eighties!
It helps to improve your breathing technique while strengthening the core and improving flexibility. It’s also great for the mind.
Pilates on the Tay – based in Fowlis Wester, Crieff – offers specialised senior classes which are ideal for anybody suffering from arthritis, osteoporosis, obesity and diabetes. In fact, GPs often refer patients to Christine for those types of conditions!
There are many other great sporting activities out there for older people here in Perthshire, so why not get active and help yourself to keep fit and sharp?
Main image courtesty of freelance photographer, Fraser Band.
Sam Herd is a Perth based downhill mountain biker who travels the globe competing in world class competitions.
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