Older adult wellbeing expert Oomph! partners with professional bodies for volleyball, weightlifting, orienteering and boccia to bring healthy competition to over 55s
The national governing bodies for volleyball, weightlifting, orienteering and boccia are today launching revamped versions of their games to attract over 55s to sport thanks to a ground-breaking partnership with older adult quality of life experts, Oomph! Wellness.
Oomph! aims to tackle inactivity and loneliness with its national plan to get 27,000 older adults doing regular, fun exercise within two years. Training is already well underway for workers and volunteers in venues catering for independent older adults such as retirement villages and housing associations - equipping them with the skills, knowledge and adapted equipment to run sports classes with an element of healthy competition. Venues from Lancashire to Hertfordshire will start running modified sports classes this week. The small start-up, well-known in the care home industry for operating exercise classes and outings, is one of the largest delivery partners of Sport England’s £10m Active Ageing Fund.
Sports resized for older adults
All activities have been designed to be run by instructors, who will undergo comprehensive training from Oomph!, and without expensive regulation equipment and facilities. Volleyball England has approved a fabric covered inflatable ball and bunting in place of an official net; British Weight Lifting has designed resistance exercises using foam pool noodles and recommends the use of everyday objects such as water bottles as hand weights; British Orienteering is helping venues to create walking (or marching) courses which use post boxes and other local landmarks as checkpoints and Boccia England has taken the principles of a Paralympic sport and modified them for older adult settings, for example by suggesting the use of bean bags in place of specialist bowling balls. Other sports’ National Governing Bodies are now in discussions with Oomph! about versioning their games for this growing demographic.
Ben Allen, CEO of Oomph! said: “By ‘gamifying’ exercise for older adults we’re making it fun and sociable rather than functional. We already use sports rather than pure exercise to motivate previously reluctant participants to join our classes on a regular basis. However, this new combination of Oomph!’s expertise with the appeal and competitive edge of professional sports bodies, is game-changing.”
Peter Hart, CEO of British Orienteering commented: “At British Orienteering we are proud to be a sport that encompasses a wide age group, we have active members in their 90s, but working with Oomph! is the first time we have adapted many of our introductory activities to work with inactive older adults. It’s my belief that orienteering can offer older adults a fantastic mix of physical and mental exercise by adapting the challenge to suit their abilities.”