Athletic Competition Drops Fitness Age

“You are not too old and it’s not too late”; this portion of a famous quote from the works of poet and novelist Rainer Maria Rilke often strikes a nerve with middle-aged and older adults who may have become a little complacent with age.  But thanks to greater health and longevity, older adults can have many years continuing to enjoy the activities and hobbies that bring passion, accomplishment and joy to life.   And according to recent research, a little competition may significantly improve quality of life for older adults.

A recent study, conducted by the National Senior Games Association, discovered that not only does athletic competition encourage physical fitness and provide motivation to stay active, but older adults who compete in sports can also enjoy a better quality of life.  Those who participated in competitive sports were measured as having a fitness age, on average, 25 years younger than their true age.

And if functioning as a much younger person isn’t good enough news for older athletes, sports participants are also one-third less likely to have a fall in a year’s time than the average population.  Only about 10 percent of senior athletes will experience a fall each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Beginning at any age, training for competition in your chosen sport can add fun and motivation to stay active.  And the social interaction found in training and competition with other like-minded adults helps seniors stay sharp and engaged and can reduce isolation that may lead to depression.   

This June, the 2019 National Senior Games is expected to gather more than 13,700 athletes over the age of 50 to complete in 20 medal sports including cycling, golf, pickleball, race walking, racquetball and swimming.  Learn more about how you can start a journey to health and wellness through competitive sports by following this link to the NSGA website