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Health

It’s never too late for sport

The importance of staying active in your senior years has been hammered home a lot in recent times with studies showing that those who exercise regularly reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and mental illness

Some over-50s may be put off taking part in sport by the idea that it is a young person’s game, with worries of excess physicality and the general concern of injury stemming their desire to take up a new pastime.

However, there are now more opportunities than ever to get into sporting activities in later life, with options encompassing choices for those who prefer team games, those who like life on two wheels and those who enjoy little more than a walk in the countryside.

Kick-off your fifties

Since featuring in a television commercial for a well-known high street bank, the popularity of walking football has soared.

The concept was thought up by Chesterfield FC Community Trust in 2011, and there are now more than 800 dedicated clubs in the UK. Furthermore, in October the FA announced that it would be producing an official rulebook for the sport.

For now, the easiest way to explain the sport is that it takes on many of the rules of standard football, only that no running is allowed.

Some clubs have differing rules when it comes to whether the ball can go over head height or whether shooting from free-kicks is allowed, but that varies from club to club.

With so many organisations around, finding your nearest club is easy. Just head to www.walkingfootballunited.co.uk to search teams in your county.

Wheels in motion

Bicycles with added electric motors have been available for over 100 years, but only in recent times have they become not only affordable, but extremely popular.

Sales of E-Bikes grew by more than a quarter last year, and the pattern suggests that curve will continue to point upwards in years to come.

With more products on the market the price of these machines is now that you can pick up a power-assisted bike for under £400, little more than a good road bike would set you back.

Taking to the saddle means you can see what the UK has to offer, whether you want a challenging climb in the Cotswold Hills or are looking for a flatter ride across the Fens.

The extra energy generated by the motor means that even if you might not have the pedal power of years gone by, you can still get yourself around at a good pace.

There are e-bike (or Pedelec) clubs dotted around the UK so those wishing to ride with like-minded individuals should seek out their local community.

Keeping it simple

You don’t need to take part in an organised sport to keep yourself fit once you pass 50, going back to basics with a long walk through the great outdoors can be just the ticket for your fitness regime.

A gentle stroll can work wonders if you are on the recovery trail from an injury but the preventative benefits are great too.

Research has shown that halting the after-eating spike in blood sugar level that can be prevalent in the over-50s can be achieved by just a 15-minute post-feed stroll. Not only this, but including regular walks in your daily routine can reduce the risk of arthritis and heart issues.

The UK has some splendid walks to enjoy whether it’s following the banks of the Thames through the hustle and bustle of London or heading out to the wilderness of the Yorkshire Dales.

While mountains may be few and far between in this country, there are plenty of hill walking opportunities for those looking to challenge themselves.

Protecting yourself

Maintaining an active lifestyle in your senior years is vital, but making sure you protect yourself against any mishaps is just as important.

With activities such as cycling or hill walking make sure to use common sense such as wearing protective helmets or ensuring that loved ones have a way of contacting you when you are on a stroll in the countryside.

Taking out insurance in case of any injuries you may occur is also advisable. A good personal accident policy can mean that should you do yourself an injury that forces you to miss work, you may be entitled to a claim.

Financial cover aside, sports insurance with a company such as SportsCover Direct will mean that should a fall, for example, leave you needing dental work you’d be able to claim back any cost too.

Standard policies will also cover things such as broken bones, physiotherapy fees and any legal expenses meaning the relatively small outlay could be well worth it in the long run.

Putting any potential mishaps to one side, it really is vital that we all keep ourselves as active as possible into our fifties and beyond.

And with a growing number of sports becoming available to you it is becoming easier and easier to find a leisure activity that suits you and your body.

SportsCover Direct is one of the UK’s leading providers of specialist insurance to amateur sportspeople.

What sports do you take part in? Have you found these articles helpful?

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