“It seems to be a kind of philosophy or a train of thought [that] when you get to a certain age, you are looking to retire and looking to wind down. Why?” asked John Goldman in an interview with the BBC. Why wind down? John has a point.
To some, growing older can mean slowing down. It is normal to slow down with advancing age as new limitations or illnesses may get in the way of intentions to continue working or keeping up with active lifestyles. The key is not to assume that older age will come with a guarantee of a sedentary lifestyle.
Those who view it this way only ever hear the negatives of growing older instead of the freedoms and opportunities involved in advancing age or retirement. For example, some will choose to see older age as an opportunity to do what they were never able to do when they were younger. John Goldman is among those who view growing older as a time to find motivation to stay healthy and invest in a new hobby.
John was able to consider the opportunities he had as he progressed in age rather than the limitations. With this attitude, he was able to find that team sports could help improve his health.
Becoming a Senior Athlete
Starting almost 19 years ago, John, at the age of 55, started playing rugby with the Mill Hill RFC and has showed up for every weekend game since then. He told BBC that he keeps showing up because the game has given him the motivation to overcome some serious health problems. Over the past 20 years he has suffered twice from cancer, undergone a heart bypass, and has recovered from major back surgery. With the help of his wife, he was able to find that rugby could help him recover from his illnesses.
Getting out on the field has helped him find the resiliency to recover. He is so invested in the sport that he plays in a front row position, assisting the guy who has the ball.
By making his recoveries from the sport, he has also maintained hope to continuously stay active and healthy. He has learned from his successful recoveries that positive outcomes are possible if you work for them. This amazing attitude keeps him returning to the field every weekend to play with his teammates. He now averages 19 games per season and keeps going back for more.
Where others find it the norm to slow down as they grow older, John has decided that an active lifestyle is key to staying healthy. He has kept with his career as a counselor and psychotherapist and keeps Rugby in his life as a way to “relax” he explains. He said that he will keep playing until he begins to “look pretty ridiculous” or can’t “get any new games.”
How Team Sports Can Improve Senior Health
They are good for your brain. The functions involved in information processing is enhanced by exercise
Create discipline in your life. Team sports improve senior health through the act of setting goals.
They improve your resiliency. Once you fall in love with a sport you will continuously strive to improve, whatever your skill level or age.
Team sports help create friendships. When you compete, you bond over a common a goal with your teammates and further your relationships. Playing on team sports can also decrease feelings of isolation in this way.