Great sports to try once you hit 30 (and beyond)
If you thought your playing days were behind you, think again. A host of great sports can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
Sports used to either belong to children or retirees, with a big gap in the middle years.
But the Covid-19 pandemic opened eyes to outdoor exercise, the power of teamwork and the fun of games.
VicHealth ambassador Natasha Korbut says there is a range of sports that are great for women over 30 to try.
“Finding the right sport is about having a go and experimenting until your find something that matches your body,” Natasha says.
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Netball Vic development manager Angela Banbury says a walking version of the sport is popular in the UK, New Zealand and growing in Australia.
“People’s love of netball stays but their body may not love it after they hit their 30s so they retire reluctantly,” Angela says.
“We’ve done surveys showing women love the friendships and connections they make on the court whether that’s walking or running.”
The walking version may slow down the pace but the three-second rule still applies so you have to think quickly.
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If you prefer a ball game with more flow but without as much stop-and-start (which can take a toll on knees and ankles), Natasha says basketball is more suitable than netball.
“It’s great cardio, good for muscle endurance and it’s good for social connection,” Natasha says.
Even if for a split second, you have to stand on one leg to kick the ball so soccer also helps balance.
“Some women don’t think they can play it because it’s so fast but different teams play at different paces,” Natasha says.
Harry Potter fans know all about this fun game played at specialised clubs, inspired by the witches who played it in the popular books.
It’s all about riding flying broomsticks – keeping them between your legs as you dodge balls known as bludgers and trying to catch a quaffle ball that you throw through a hoop.
“It is very fast paced, requires great concentration and really works every part of your body and mind,” Natasha says.
Natasha says rowing can be adapted for singles and teams, and is a great upper body and leg workout.
“People are often surprised by the amount of leg work in rowing,” she says.
“It’s a repetitive movement you have to focus on and a lot of people find that really relaxing.”
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Lawn bowls is harder than it looks and great for hand/eye co-ordination, according to Natasha.
“It may be low cardio but it’s great for muscle endurance and is good for people wanting to take care of knees,” she says.
“Barefoot bowls is another great option and works the very tiny ankle and foot muscles.”
“It requires a bit of balance and is a good opportunity for shoulder, back and core strength,” Natasha says.
A great game to play by yourself or in a group, Natasha says you can increase the intensity of golf by jogging between tees.
“Surfing is beautiful because you have to engage with your environment to be safe and also have fun,’’ Natasha says.
It improves balance, your core and shoulder muscles.
It has some cardio too because you have to swim out to the waves.
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Written by Catherine Lambert.