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Best Countries for Retirees to Enjoy Outdoor Activities

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For those retirees looking to lead active lifestyles and enjoy partaking in a range of indoor and outdoor sports, the new Senior Sports Report from the hearing specialists at ReSound has determined which of the 30 most developed countries in the world are the most popular and accessible to older generations in order to stay social, and keep fit and healthy. 

After researching 30 of the most developed countries around the world, and analysing a number of factors including the number of green spaces, gym classes, swimming clubs, golf courses, allotments, lawn bowls, dance classes, swimming pools, cycle routes, and yoga studios in each country – a ranking score was then assigned to each location out of a possible 110. 

Top 10 most sport-inclusive countries for older adults

  1. United Kingdom
  2. United States
  3. Australia
  4. France
  5. Netherlands
  6. Germany
  7. Spain
  8. Switzerland
  9. Japan
  10. Ireland

The UK leads the way as the best country for retirees to participate in sports and leisure activities, with a total score of 99.5/110.

Gym classes and swimming sessions are the most readily available activities for senior citizens to enjoy in the UK. Pilates, yoga, dance classes and lawn bowling are also particular favourites with the older generation. and are easily accessible to the population. 

The US emerges as the second most inclusive country for senior sports activities, with an overall score of 90.8./110. 

Retired Americans can enjoy a range of indoor activities from swimming to pilates and yoga, or take advantage of a choice of outdoor activities, including lawn bowling and walks around the many green spaces found across the 50 states. 

Climbing the ranks to third is Australia, with a score of 81.2/110 for its variety of accessible sports and activities for its more mature residents. 

Countries with the most golf courses for retirees to enjoy

For many active seniors with an abundance of free time, a leisurely day out on the green is one of the most popular activities to enjoy and that’s why the Senior Sports Report reveals which countries are home to the most golf courses. 

  1. Ireland
  2. Canada
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Spain
  5. Germany
  6. United States
  7. New Zealand
  8. Australia
  9. Japan
  10. France
  11. Netherlands
  12. Sweden
  13. Finland
  14. Italy
  15. Denmark

Unsurprisingly, Ireland tops the table as the country offering the most choice to golf fanatics of all levels, with 341 courses to choose from. The island is home to some world-class golf clubs that offer up both stunning scenery and some of the most challenging courses for amateurs to conquer. 

Canada follows closely behind with its range of 336 golf courses that are definitely above par. The popular Cabot Cape Breton has a range of legendary courses, including Cabot Links, designed by golf course architect Rod Whitman, and boasting an oceanfront landscape and rolling fairways. 

Rounding up the top 3 is the UK, which offers 330 golf courses to explore for a day on the green. The Old Course at St Andrews Golf Links in Scotland is among the most elite courses in the world, with its famous features the Swilcan Bridge and Hell Bunker that are recognised across the globe. 

Best countries for older populations to enjoy outdoor activities

  1. United States
  2. United Kingdom
  3. France
  4. Germany
  5. Netherlands
  6. Spain
  7. Canada
  8. Sweden
  9. Japan
  10. Finland

The United States is crowned the best country for the older generation to enjoy outdoor leisure activities, with a total score of 42.5/50.

Residents in America can visit a number of green spaces to enjoy a leisurely stroll or take in the scenic sights of the country on two wheels on one of its many cycle routes. Keen bowls players will also be in their element in the US, as it has a range of lawn bowling locations to play at.

Following closely behind in second place is the United Kingdom, scoring 40.7/50 for its outdoor activities for the elderly. Avid gardeners are in luck in the UK, as it is home to a number of allotments where senior citizens can grow everything from fruit and vegetables, to their favourite plants and flowers.

France earns its spot as the third-best country for retirees to enjoy outdoor leisure activities, with an overall score of 36.6/50. Senior cyclists can take advantage of the many cycle routes around France that offer up picturesque views of canals, coastlines, mountains and historic villages. 

Countries offering the best indoor activity options for the older population

Indoor sports can often be more accessible to the elder population, as activities can be enjoyed without the interference of wind noise that impacts hearing quality, and they are often less active and physically demanding than outdoor activities.

Many countries offer an extensive choice of sporting activities from yoga and pilates to swimming, dancing and gym classes, but which country takes the crown for the best indoor activities?

  1. United Kingdom
  2. Australia
  3. United States
  4. France
  5. Switzerland
  6. Netherlands
  7. Germany
  8. Ireland
  9. Spain
  10. Italy

The United Kingdom secures the title as the best country for its variety of indoor activities for older members of the public, with a total score of 58.8/60. Active senior citizens in the UK can enjoy a range of indoor exercises from swimming solo to group activities like gym classes, dance classes, yoga and pilates. 

Australia emerges in second place for its indoor activity offerings for retirees with a score of 53.2/60. With a wide range of dance classes on offer, senior residents in Australia can enjoy everything from Zumba and salsa to ballroom dancing. 

Taking the final spot in the top three is the United States with a score of 48.3/60, for its indoor activities for mature active members. Health and fitness clubs, yoga, pilates and swimming are amongst the most popular activities on offer for elderly residents in America. 

Methodology and data sources 

The Senior Sports Report by the hearing aid specialists at ReSound discovers which sporting activities and hobbies undertaken by senior citizens (60+) are the most popular around the world and determines which countries are the most inclusive to retirees.

Taking a seed list of the top 30 developed countries around the world, the report discovers how accommodating each country is for senior sports and retirees, by analysing the following metrics: 

  • Number of green spaces and parks
  • Number of gym classes for older adults
  • Number of senior swim sessions available
  • Number of health and fitness clubs and gyms
  • Number of dance classes and clubs for older adults
  • Golf courses and clubs
  • Lawn bowls pitches and clubs
  • Number of allotments
  • Yoga and pilates studios
  • Number of swimming pools 
  • Number of cycle routes

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