We know that exercise is important to us as we get older, but sometimes hitting the gym isn’t enough. Running on the treadmill, using machines or even taking classes at the gym may not be your cup of tea, but you still want to stay active as you age. An article from Sports Psychology Today notes that staying active as an adult is imperative to staying healthy. Experts say regular exercise keeps the body strong, and it reduces the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and even some cancers. It’s also believed that a healthy body can keep the mind healthy with improved cognitive function.
There is also strong evidence that sports do a lot more than just provide the physical benefits of exercise. Being part of a team, the camaraderie and working together for a common goal are also invaluable aspects of athletics. Just as these things are important to children and young people, they are vital for adults, too. This is the part that many adults find is missing once they become “too old” for many of their sports teams. Many times, people lose their opportunity to play organized sports once they graduate from high school or college.
A Harvard School of Public Health study found that some adults who played sports when they were younger and no longer play as adults cite lack of time, interest, access and health issues as reasons why they gave up their sports. There was also a gender and income gap as well. The largest decline in participation occurred after age 26. The same study found that even though adults tend to give up their athletics, they still enthusiastically support their children in theirs. The key is to keep parents playing, too. We often think of lifelong sports as limited to golf and tennis, but that is not the case!
While the options for an adult are nowhere near as endless as they are for a child or teenager, there are still ways you can stay active as you age!
So don’t be afraid or think you are too old! Get out there and play!
I’M READY! Where should I go?
Many local churches offer adult athletics. Trinity United Methodist and Westside Baptist Sports Ministries offer options such as basketball and softball. Visit trinitygnv.org for information on slow-pitch softball for those 55+, a walking/ running group, yoga, line dancing and aerobics.
Gainesvillekickball.com is an adult kickball league. It promotes itself as fun for all skill levels, which is important if you don’t really have any skills. You can join as an individual and be placed on a team, or you can join as a team if you have a group of friends or co-workers. They have theme nights, social outings and awards.
The City of Gainesville has adult athletics ranging from co-ed softball teams to tennis leagues to swimming classes. You can find more information at cityofgainesville.org on seasons and registration prices. City residents have reduced costs to participate.
The YMCA (ncfymca.org) offers your expected swimming and aerobics classes for adults as well, but they also offer adult Parkour courses! If you aren’t familiar with Parkour, they describe it as military obstacle course training including swimming, climbing, rolling and quadrupedal movements. They have both beginner and intermediate adult courses. The cost is approximately $60 a week for two classes.
The 300 Club is another place adults can join in swimming and tennis, but they also offer a few other fun options such as chair yoga, water aerobics and pickleball for all levels. You can play pickleball for $25 of monthly unlimited fun. Visit 300clubswimandtennis.com for more information.
Gainesville Area Rowing has a Masters Club for those ages 22+. The term “masters” refers to age here and not skill level, so beginners are welcome. Visit gainesvillearearowing.com to find out more.