Seniors encouraged to get active thanks to new sports program

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Seniors take part in a game of netball at Jamison Park. Photo: Melinda Jane

Local seniors are being encouraged to take part in an exciting new low impact sporting initiative to help them stay active and connected in their communities.

Earlier today, Minister for Ageing Tanya Davies and Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres joined seniors at Jamison Park to launch the Modified Sports Program, a partnership between the NSW Government, Football NSW, Netball NSW and Gymnastics NSW.

“Sport is one of the greatest connectors of people and communities in this state, and age should be no barrier,” Ms Davies said.

“The NSW Government’s $100,000 investment in lower impact versions of football, netball and gymnastics is another example of how we are committed to ensuring older people lead healthy, active and happy lives.”

Mr Ayres said seniors especially stand to benefit from the inclusive and healthy nature of sport.

Mulgoa MP Tanya Davies and Penrith MP Stuart Ayres battle each other on the netball court. Photo: Melinda Jane

“Sport is a vital part of the social and economic fabric of NSW and it helps keep our older community members fit, healthy and engaged,” the State Penrith MP said.

“By participating in modified sport seniors can remain engaged at a level which suits their abilities, extends circles of friendship and builds social connections.”

Modifications include rule changes to mimic the successful ‘walking football’ in the UK, adapted rules for netball matches, and tailored gymnastics activities to cater for different levels of ability.

Played on a smaller field with less players, Football NSW CEO Stuart Hodge said walking football will be an exciting initiative for local seniors.

Seniors take part in netball at Jamison Park. Photo: Melinda Jane

“We have over 6000 registered players over the age of 50 playing football in NSW,” he said.

“We know that there is a desire for them to continue to play and we believe walking football has the potential for significant growth.”

Seniors with less mobility will also enjoy getting involved with gymnastics to improve flexibility and coordination.

“Gymnastics for older adults is an opportunity for people to be active and have fun in a social environment,” Gymnastics NSW Events and Development Officer, Natalie Jaques said.

“All our programs are tailored towards everybody’s ability.”

Stuart Ayres speaking at today’s launch. Photo: Melinda Jane

Netball is hugely popular in Penrith and it’s expected the ‘walking’ version will be perfect for players who have given the game away due to age and fitness.

“Walking netball will have three modifications which include walking not running, no jumping and no defence over the shot,” Netball NSW General Manager – Sport Development, Nikki Horton.

To register or for more information about modified sports for older people, visit the relevant sporting associations websites: www.myfootballclub.com.au; nsw.netball.com.au/walking-netball; www.gymnsw.org.au/olderadults.

Tanya Davies having fun on the netball court. Photo: Melinda Jane
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