Rugby over the age of fifty? Really? Yes! It really is possible ! So if you or your partner long to return to rugby after a long spell, then keep reading this inspirational story!
I do feel that the media and society do not address the health issues surrounding men as much as they do for females. This is probably due to the fact that more females naturally read more online articles and participate more in social media discussions. However, I think the tide is changing and more men are taking their health seriously and therefore seeking out more information.
For this post I decided to use my husband, Tony and his experiences as an example, in the hope that it may give inspiration to any man out there wondering how to make the start into a healthier life. I will be honest from the outset that it isn’t easy. After researching this topic, I realised that a high percentage of men are reluctant to start a new health and fitness regime, particularly after the age of fifty. This could be due to a confidence issue or perhaps after years of lack of self care, they really do not know where to start.
I hope this blog post will somehow give you ( or your partner ) inspiration and ideas how to kick start your health and fitness regime. Please don’t ever think that it is too late to start ! It is NEVER too late. A friend of ours started a new fitness plan last year at 73 years old and he is now fitter than most 40 year olds !
So …. meet Tony, my husband. He is 58 years old and a typical stressed out businessman. He works long hours, travels extensively and it is not unusual for him to be working while we are on holiday. AND he loves rugby !
My husband played competitive rugby from the age of 17 through to the age of 36, playing most of his rugby at Driffield Rugby Club in East Yorkshire. Family commitments then took precedence and he left the rugby club and his rugby friends. However he always missed the rugby community and often talked longingly about joining a rugby club and maybe playing a little veterans rugby again.
After talking about joining a rugby club again for many years ( talking, but not doing anything about it !) I found a new Touch Rugby group starting on The Stray in Harrogate. In association with O2, Touch Rugby sessions were been set up all around the UK. This was to try and get the community to come together for friendly, fitness sessions.
The Harrogate sessions were part of a collaboration between Harrogate Borough Council, Harrogate Rugby Club and the RFU. Touch Rugby is an all inclusive activity that develops skill, fitness and provides a social and friendly atmosphere. Touch Rugby has become very popular in the UK over the last few years and is now recognised as a sport in its own right. The rules are simple and new players can get involved straight away without any training. The sport is a great way to get large groups of people together.
Iain Service who is the Development Officer for Sports and Projects at Harrogate Borough Council is passionate about getting people active and engaged in physical activity, regardless of age, gender, background or ability. Iain, through his work at the Council, decided that the best place to hold the sessions was The Stray in the centre of Harrogate. This meant it was attractive to the local community with its ideal town centre location.
The council enlisted the support from the RFU and Harrogate Rugby Club who were already running touch rugby sessions and had the knowledge and equipment. The two supporters of the sessions along with Iain from Harrogate Borough Council, were Director of Rugby at Harrogate Rugby Club, David Doherty and Evan Woodworth from the RFU. David is a professional rugby player who played for Leeds and Sale Sharks, along with other top clubs during his prolific career. Evan Woodworth is a community rugby coach for the RFU, who with his vast experience as a player and coach, works across North Yorkshire helping to increase community involvement in rugby.
And so, my husband found himself ready to play rugby again after a long twenty year gap. So how did he get on ? Well, he absolutely loved it ! The group was a mixed group of ages, gender and ability. I saw the young and the older generation, female and male, all playing a sport that they obviously loved. There was a great community spirit and comradeship. Everyone helped each other and it was fabulous to see this coming together of 30 or so strangers in the name of sport.
As for my husband, well, he was like a new man. He re captured his youth and passion for the game that he loves so much. Tony felt part of a team and part of the community. He was full of boundless energy and enthusiasm which I hadn’t seen before in him. He was honestly so happy that his beloved rugby was back in his life again.
Could this mean I become a ‘rugby widow’ ? Haha ! Well, life is all about new adventures and following our dreams. So I am definitely encouraging him to attend more Touch Rugby sessions. It is so important to be involved in something that we love as we get older. Surely this only helps us live our best life and potentially increase our life expectancy ?
As Touch Rugby is a little gentler than the traditional game, it means that the older generation can take part without risk of injury. Also, I think that if the activity is less intense, then this is a great way to attract more people. This is especially significant for the older generation who may be a little nervous of getting back into sport.
The good news is that the Touch Rugby sessions are continuing in Harrogate.
Do you long to be involved in a sport that you were part of as a youngster ? For me I love rounders and netball and would love to play these again. Perhaps I should look for local groups ?
My conclusion is that there is no age limit to taking part in any sport. Yes, as we get older we are not as supple, strong or fit as we used to be. However there is still SOMETHING we can do. Anything is better than slouching on the sofa every night watching TV. Think not only of the health benefits, but the social side too, finding new, like minded friends with similar interests. I believe this is what keeps us young, both in our body and in our mind. We should really treasure our life and our ability to make a difference to our health. It IS possible to make huge differences to our mental and physical well being, if we make the effort.
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF EXERCISE !
Until next time dear friends