The accessible sports you can try during coronavirus
6th July 2020
Government guidelines have recommended people socially distance and avoid non-essential contact with others due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This has seen organised sport being put on hold and professional events such as the Six Nations and the London Marathon cancelled.
It has affected people all across the UK and with older people being told to be especially careful, many have stayed largely indoors during this period. Now with the restrictions being lifted slightly, it has seen the return of Premier League football and sports where you can safely socially distance.
It is important that older people continue to stay fit during the pandemic and through sport you can also meet-up with friends and family. This guide looks at the different sports that older people can try and continue to safely socially distance:
Bowls or lawn bowls is one sport that can be played at a safe distance and is one where people of all mobilities can easily play.
If you have mobility issues and usually need stair lifts to get around your home or walking aids when you are out and about, then you don’t need to worry about playing bowls as it is a very inclusive sport.
Alex from the Bowls Chat, a directory for all bowling associations, clubs and services from around the world, talks about why bowls is a great sport to get involved in.
“Bowls is a very social and inclusive sport for people of all ages and skill levels who wish to enjoy a casual game or compete at local, national or international level.
“It is a healthy activity for everyone and an easy game to learn with free coaching available for new bowlers and we recommend it as an ideal sport for people to play during the lockdown.
“There is easy access to facilities, greens and special equipment at all outdoor and indoor clubs for players with a disability, allowing them to compete with or against non-disabled bowlers at all levels of the game.
“The greens have more than enough room to cater for social distancing during lockdown and guidance has already been issued to clubs on the measures required for safe play during the remainder of the outdoor season.”
It has also been announced that the indoor and short mat variations of the game are set to begin in September and will follow the COVID-19 guidance for indoor sports.
Getting out in the fresh air and moving around is not only beneficial to your health but also to your mental wellbeing. Older people don’t want to be just sitting in their homes all the time and golf has been a popular sport for many to take up during the pandemic.
David Jones from the UK Golf Guy blog thinks golf is in many ways the perfect game to play during the pandemic.
He said: “You play outdoors, in a safe environment, and there's no need to be within close distance of your fellow players at any time or touch anything apart from your own golf equipment. Secondly, it's a great way to get some exercise at a time when you may be finding it hard to get out and about.”
People with mobility problems can play golf, although it is recommended that you do your research on the course you are looking to play at.
David Jones added: “The most important thing is to choose a course and set of tees that suits your game. Most courses have a copy of the course scorecard on their website so check there that it isn't too long for you and there is a good selection of tees. There's nothing worse being faced with needing a long drive and then a long second shot on every hole! Also, you may want to see if there are any 9 hole courses near you as this can be a great way to get all the benefits of a game of golf without having to worry about getting too tired. If there are no 9-hole courses then you can ask the course if there is a reduction in green fees if you just play 9 holes.”
Tennis is an accessible sport that people can try during the coronavirus pandemic as by its very nature the sport is an activity whereby close person to person contact can be avoided.
With the latest announcements, the Prime Minister announced that from 1st June players in England who are from different households can now play doubles together as long as they stay two metres apart.
The LTA said: “Players from different households can now play doubles together as long as they stay two metres apart as far as possible, and small group coaching for up to six people (including coaches) can resume.”
If you have a mobility issue or a disability, then tennis is a great sport for you to get involved in as there is wheelchair, visually impaired, learning disability and deaf tennis available.
Fishing is another sport that is great for older people as for the adept angler or the weekend hobbyist, it is regarded as a great way to improve your mental and physical wellbeing.
Fishing is known to keep your heart and lungs healthy and people have been known to burn around 200 calories per hour when they are fishing. If you go fishing your arms, shoulders and upper back will get a good workout with the number of times you are casting.
The hobby is suitable for people of all physical abilities as you don’t have to walk or stand for long periods of times like other sports.
To find out more about the most accessible places to fish in the UK, click here.
Cycling might not seem like the most accessible sport you can try, but now there are bikes that make it possible for people with mobility concerns or disability to enjoy all the benefits of the sport.
The type of bike will depend on your particular disability as those with balance issues often choose tricycles and visually impaired riders may find that a tandem piloted by a sighted partner is the best option.
If you have mobility issues in your legs or have no use of them, then there are handcycles that you can use or side-by-side trikes. There are so many variations with fixed-wheel trikes available to those who have difficulty coordinating their pedalling action and even trikes adapted to carry a wheelchair.
Step-through frames are also available for anyone who can’t throw their leg over the saddle to get aboard the bike and there are bikes that are made for cyclists with the use of one arm or hand so they can still brake and change safely.
Projects like Wheels for All offer impartial advice on the type of bike that is best for your needs and there are 50 centres across the country that you can visit.
Other accessible sports to try during coronavirus
On top of the aforementioned sports, there are other sports that people of all mobilities can try during the pandemic:
- Sea swimming – You are able to go swimming in the sea, but it is advised that if you opt for this activity that you visit a beach which is patrolled by lifeguards. The RNLI website allows you to find your nearest lifeguarded beach during the lockdown.
- Basketball – Outdoor basketball courts are now open and this means you and your family can look to play a game of basketball. The great thing about the sport is that even if you need to use a wheelchair, you can still play a game of basketball or just compete against each other in a shoot-out competition.
Despite older adults being advised to shield, there are lots of accessible sports that you can try during the coronavirus lockdown. Hopefully this article has given you some ideas of the sorts of sports you can play in the upcoming months.
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.