This sporting life: how seniors can be fit and beat the world

A few weeks ago, we told the story of Australia’s over-60s cricketers who were on their way to Chennai in India to compete in the Over-60s World Cup.

They went in search of their inaugural championship, having seen the trophy handed to Pakistan at the previous tournament.

The very good news is that the team succeeded in doing just that.

Having lost just one match to the West Indies, the Australians went on to face England in the final and win the World Cup.

The score was remarkable. After their 45 overs, England were bundled out for a modest 214 runs, for the loss of 9 wickets.

For the loss of just 2 wickets, Australia reached the England total in 41.5 overs. A terrific victory.

Our Over-60s cricketers join the national men’s team and women’s team as world champions in the one-day international format.

Sport for seniors

You don’t have to be in an international sports team to benefit from sporting activity.

The physical activity provided through sport can help prevent some illnesses and reduce the risk of heart disease, type II diabetes, osteoporosis, colon cancer, obesity, and being injured in a fall.

Gentle exercise can also help reduce stress, alleviate depression and anxiety, enhance mental well-being, and provide a great opportunity to enjoy activity with family and friends.

For many older Australians, however, remaining physically active can be a challenge. We become more conscious of the risk of injury, especially as our bodies and fitness levels change.

So, what exercises and sports are best for seniors? It’s always best to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen or sporting activity to make sure it’s safe for you to do so.

Top sports for seniors


This helps build your bone health and it’s good for your heart. Form a walking group, or join an existing community group, or just walk solo. Try to work up to 30 minutes a day at least four times per week.


Exercising in the water reduces the impact on your joints, which makes it a popular choice for people with arthritis. Swimming is good for cardiovascular health and muscle strength and strengthens ligaments and tendons too. To add intensity, you can wear flippers or use leg weights to add more resistance and make your muscles work harder.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a low-impact activity that involves gentle movements. No fancy equipment is needed, so it’s easy to get started. When doing Tai Chi, your muscles are usually relaxed rather than tensed, joints are not fully extended or bent, and connective tissues are not stretched. This means you’re improving your flexibility and muscle strength without putting too much stress on your body.


Yoga improves physical health and helps reduce stress due to the relaxing properties of the various movements and stretches. It’s a low-impact exercise that can improve your core balance, strength, respiratory flow, and muscle flexibility.


This is one of the most enjoyable ways to get a full body workout. Dancing can improve energy levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, improve memory and mood, and improve your balance.


Improved hand-eye coordination, bone strength, and balance are among the many benefits of playing tennis. Running in different directions, transferring body weight from foot to foot, and swinging the racket with your arms gives the whole body a great workout. Take it easy when you start, though.


Playing golf gets your joints moving when you swing the clubs. It also improves blood circulation, which encourages your heart to work more efficiently and help build its muscles. While it’s not a high-energy sport, all that swinging, putting and waking around the course adds up. Additionally, the social aspect and concentration involved in the game helps improve your focus and overall mental wellbeing.

Lawn bowls

Bowls promotes balance and coordination and provides a good workout due to the weight of the bowls and the amount of walking involved. It’s also a great social sport which fosters skill development, enhanced mental wellbeing, and friendly competition.


For a much lighter sporting activity, croquet is the perfect excuse to get outside and exercise at your own pace. Much like chess, the game is very mentally stimulating and involves a lot of thought to solve the puzzle. It’s also a great way to meet people and develop new friendships.

Choose Health: Be Active. A physical activity guide for older Australians is a great resource for better understand the benefits of physical exercise and how to take part in it.

Related reading: IRT, Clearing House for Sport, SMA


John Austin

John Austin

National Seniors Policy and Communications Officer

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