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Planning Retirement Online

Physical Activities and Sports

Doing some exercise will obviously help us to keep physically fit. It is important, as we get older, that we do have our physical health or it will be more difficult to do all those things that we have always wanted to do, such as travel, run around with the grandchildren and so on.

We do not need to become superstars; rather, we need to maintain the level of physical fitness that we already have. The mere fact of leaping out of bed in the morning, getting to work, dealing with people and things whilst we’re there keeps us, to a certain extent, fit. We need to keep that up, at least.  

Hobbies Groups and Links

Hobbies and Interests

Physical activities and sports

Mind Games

Creative Hobbies

The Great Outdoors

There may also be other benefits. If you walk more (stop having the paper delivered, for example, and go and collect it), you’ll save some money on petrol, fares and general travelling costs. If you walk with a group, you will maintain or increase your social contacts. Look up the Ramblers’ Association at Or you could look at Natural England's Walking for Health (formerly Walking the Way to Health Initiative). They provide free walks throughout the country for people of all abilities.  You will be able to think of parallel benefits for the activities that you choose.

Swimming and cycling are good activities for our age group because they can be fairly gentle, if you are not used to exercise, and they are non-impact. This means that they do not put strain on our joints. However, we need some impact exercise to help stave off osteoporosis, which is where walking (or jogging/running if that takes your fancy) comes in. Have a look at the Cycling Tourist Club, where you can cycle in a group and have the opportunity to meet new friends. If you want to reminisce about cycling, pay a visit to the National Cycle Museum in Llandrindod Wells, mid-Wales.

The Crazy World of Bowls (Crazy World Of... S.)If you want to do a sport and join a club, bowls clubs are very sociable. Bowls provides some gentle exercise and the action of bowling helps maintain our sense of balance. For flat green bowls, have a look at the English Bowling Association’s website at In particular, go to their ‘for Beginners’ section to see how it’s played and if there’s a club near you. For crown green bowls, go to the British Crown Green Bowling Association's website for a range of websites concerning this sport.

Golf For Dummies - UK EditionOther, slightly more energetic, sports that might suit are badminton and tennis. You can play badminton, in particular, at any leisure centre, and there will be a tennis club near you. If you haven’t played before, start with doubles, which is obviously gentler, before trying singles. Golf is another sport that provides some fairly gentle exercise with a good social scene and plenty of fresh air.

Part of fitness is keeping supple and flexible. If you want to join classes for this, then yoga, or t’ai chi might be for you.

Dancing is becoming immensely popular again, partly thanks to the television programmes that are devoted to it on a regular basis. Ballroom dancing, line dancing, tap, jive, salsa and many other forms of dancing are being enjoyed by people of all ages and are a great way of keeping fit - and of meeting new people. It's excellent for general fitness, including flexibility, suppleness and balance.

Hashing  Don’t worry; we’re not encouraging you to do anything illegal! But do you like walking, jogging or running? Do you want to meet people and join a very sociable group of people? If so, hashing could be for you.

What is hashing? It’s a form of activity that allows walkers, joggers and runners to go out together. It’s non-competitive and great fun. It started in Malaysia in the late 1930s by a group of ex-pats who liked to go running and then have some beer and food in their favourite haunt, which was called The Hash House. Hence the name ‘hashing’ and the name of hashing clubs – Hash House Harriers.

It’s now a world-wide activity, being particularly strong in the UK, North America, Australia, the Far East and parts of Europe. In the UK there are about 120 clubs.

How does it Work? The idea is that there are hares (usually two) who go out before the hash and lay a trail with blobs of flour – like an old-fashioned paper chase. When the path diverges, they lay a circle of flour, which indicates that the trail could go in any direction. So the fast runners, who are at the front, have to check to see which way the trail goes. This gives the slower people time to catch up so by the time they reach the circle of flour (called a check) the correct route has been found.

A well-laid trail will allow everyone, whatever his or her speed of progress, to finish the hash at about the same time. The route is almost always circular and, in the UK, starts and ends at a pub, so there is then the chance of some serious socialising. Amongst that is normally some organised fun during which people who have ‘sinned’ during the hash are invited to atone by paying a suitable forfeit!

So if you want some exercise, some fun and the chance to meet some new friends in a very friendly environment, think about hashing. Go to the UK Hash House Harriers website  where you can find the nearest club to you and find out a bit more about hashing.

Of course, you don’t have to go anywhere to keep fit. Housework, gardening and DIY will also provide you with exercise. If you want to do extra at home, walk up and down the stairs a number of times and do some stretching in the morning and evening. Also, when you’re out shopping, walk up the stairs instead of talking the lift. If you do these things at home and in your everyday life plus doing something else as well, you’ll soon become fitter than ever.

In addition to the activities mentioned here, think about the following in your quest to keep fit:

  • Aerobics
  • Joining a gym
  • Walking up stairs instead of taking the lift

If you have a particular Hobby or Interest and would like to research and write about it on the web, take a look at our Associate scheme.

Now, take a look through the other pages and see if anything takes your fancy – or something might trigger another inspiration. If you don’t find what you want, however, take a look at the Sports and Activities section, or go to Amazon where you will be certain to find a book on the hobby or interest of your choice

This Guide to Hobbies and Interests is written by Retirement Specialist Dave Sinclair supported by members of the LaterLife team. As well as writing on retirement matters Dave is Training Director at LaterLife and responsible for the content and continuous improvement of LaterLife's Retirement Courses.
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