The Gold Coast is fast establishing itself as the mature age sports capital of Australia.
That’s according to the organisers of the biennial Pan Pacific Masters Games, who expect over 12,000 men and women over the age of 30 to be in the city next November for the ninth edition of the Games.
According to Events Management Queensland General Manager Cameron Hart, Masters sport is booming in the city.
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“Large numbers of people are joining local sports clubs and either discovering a new sport or re-visiting a sport they played in their younger years,” Mr Hart said.
“A survey after our 2012 event revealed that over 60% of our Masters Games participants are members of sports clubs and that’s great to see.
“It’s obvious that increasing numbers of Australians realise that playing sport into older age has huge health benefits.
“During the past decade particularly there has been an enormous increase in the number of older individuals engaging in regular exercise for the health benefits and the social life that being involved in sports and exercise brings.
“And by all accounts the Gold Coast is leading the way,” he said.
Mr Hart said numerous studies have shown that Masters-age athletes have a lower incidence of serious health matters than people who exercise little.
“They smoke less and exercise helps with such ailments as asthma, body pains and minor disabilities,” Mr Hart said.
“Physical training goes a long way to maintaining a young biological age and a better quality of older age,” he said.
Dr Caroline Ringuet, a lecturer in sport management at Griffith University, said participation in Masters sport recognises how Australia’s sport system supports lifelong participation.
“The Pan Pacific Masters Games will showcase how we can move through sport pathways at any age and stage,” Dr Ringuet said.
“Being involved in active recreation or high-level competition at the Games will bring many benefits to the individual participants, including enjoyment and increased wellbeing through social connectedness and community activities,” she said.
The 2014 Pan Pacific Masters Games will be held on the Gold Coast from 1-9 November, featuring over 40 sports.