Curves Hervey Bay Manager Dot Manskie instructs Cynthia Luckman and Loretta Lawrence on the correct use of some of the gym machines.
Curves Hervey Bay Manager Dot Manskie instructs Cynthia Luckman and Loretta Lawrence on the correct use of some of the gym machines. Contributed

Oldies more likely to go to gym than play lawn bowls

THE enduring image of retirees spending their time playing lawn bowls and pottering in the garden has been dealt a blow by new research from insurer Apia.

According to Apia's research, older Australians are almost five times more likely to regularly attend a gym or fitness group than they are to play bowls.

Apia spokesman David Skapinker said people tended to think the lifestyles of older Australians had not changed much since our grandparent's generation when tending the garden and heading down to the local lawn bowls club were the main recreational past times,but that wasn't the case anymore.

"Three quarters of our over 50s say they regularly walk to keep physically active and 14% attend a gym or fitness group once a week or more, while just 3% play bowls," he said.

"Interestingly, those between 65 and 69 are the most likely to attend a gym or fitness group (18%), perhaps indicating more free time when they reach retirement age."

According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis affects an estimated 200 million people worldwide and your risk for developing osteoporosis increases as you age.

Weight bearing physical activity, like strength training, builds and maintains muscle mass which increases your bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

Gym membership at Curves Hervey Bay is made up of 65% of women over 50 years and manager Dot Manskie said that while walking was by far the easiest exercise for most women, as we age we need to do more.

As we get older we need to keep connected with people around us and fitness groups, cycling and walking meet-ups are a great way for people to stay active and socialise at the same time. No matter what your choice of exercise, Urangan resident Della Reid said it was important to stay physically and mentally fit.

"I like to garden and walk, but as a former gymnast and skater I follow my own exercise plan every morning, and my husband Jim cycles every day," Mrs Reid said.

Favourite exercise

The top physical activities Australians aged over 50 regularly undertake:

  • Walking 77%
  • Swimming 14%
  • Attending a gym or fitness group 14%
  • Cycling 9%
  • Running, jogging 6%
  • Yoga or Pilates 6%
  • Playing golf 4%
  • Playing bowls 3%
  • Tennis or squash 2%