Skip to main content

The Most Popular Sports for Retirees Around The World

Many senior citizens lead active lifestyles and enjoy partaking in a range of indoor and outdoor sports and activities once their working life has concluded, in order to stay social and keep fit and healthy.

Despite a significant proportion of those aged 50 and over (40%) suffering from some form of hearing loss, the astounding developments and advancements in modern technology mean that those who require the use of hearing aids don’t need to miss out on participating in their very favourite hobbies.

To coincide with this, as part of the Senior Sports Report, the hearing aid specialists at ReSound analysed 30 of the most developed countries in the world. The report aims to determine which sporting activities are the most popular and accessible to older generations, and how this varies from country to country.

The report considered a number of factors during research, 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.

The Most Sport Inclusive Countries for Seniors


The UK, USA and Australia crowned the most sport-inclusive countries for older generations to enjoy

Hearing-impaired seniors who are passionate about maintaining an active lifestyle will benefit from wearing hearing aids to improve their safety, performance, and communication with teammates or those around them.

So, considering indoor sport, outdoor sport, and leisure activities such as gardening, which countries statistically offer the best activities for older generations?

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 with a score of 10/10. Pilates, yoga, dance classes and lawn bowling are also particular favourites with the older generation and are easily accessible to the population.

The USA 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.

Dance classes and lawn bowling are among the more popular activities available for the older generation down under, with the option to attend gym classes, swimming, yoga and pilates closely behind.

The Most Inclusive Countries for Senior-Focused Sports

Iceland, Estonia and Luxembourg find themselves as the countries offering the least amount of indoor and outdoor sporting activities on the list.

Whilst this could be a result of the countries having smaller populations, Iceland emerges as the country with the least amount of sporting activities for the older generation, with a score of 8.2/110.

Despite, residents being able to take advantage of a choice of outdoor activities, including cycling and golfing, the country has very limited green spaces and indoor sporting activities for the older generation.

The ultimate golf courses bucket list for Retirees

The Ultimate Global Golf Courses

For many active seniors, a leisurely day out on the green is one of the most popular activities to enjoy, which is why it shouldn’t be overshadowed by the excessive wind that causes troubling background noise to those golfers wearing hearing aids.

Avid golfers that suffer from hearing loss should choose a hearing aid designed for tough weather conditions that reduces wind noise, allowing them to get the best experience when taking a swing at these ultimate courses.

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 to amateurs.

Those golfing in Ireland should swing by the Royal Portrush Golf Club which boasts the world-famous Dunluce Links, renowned for being homes to some of the trickiest holes in the world. Ireland also has the picturesque Ballybunion Golf Club which sits on a stretch of sand dunes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and has the two unique courses the Old Course and the Trent Jones Cashen Course.

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. The Cabot Cliffs course also sits close by and is carved out of the breathtaking Cape Breton, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.

Last but not least is the United Kingdom, offering 330 golf courses to explore for a day on the green.

The Old Course at St Andrews Golf Links in Scotland is amongst the most elite courses in the world, with its famous features the Swilcan Bridge and Hell Bunker that are recognised across the globe. Those looking to play in the same spot as some of the most iconic names in golf should also visit The Ailsa Course at Trump Turnberry which has hosted four legendary Open Championships.

The great outdoors: The best countries for older populations to enjoy outdoor activities

The Best Countries for Elder Populations To Enjoy Outdoor Activities

Outdoor activities are extremely popular amongst the older generation, but for those suffering from a hearing impairment, wind noise can prove particularly troublesome. That’s why it's recommended to wear wind-reducing hearing aids for outdoor sports, whether it’s cycling, walking, golfing or bowling.

With that in mind, which countries offer the best range of outdoor sports to the elderly?

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. France also boasts a range of green spaces for outdoor exercise and relaxation.

Indoor pursuits: the countries offering the best indoor activity options for the elder population

The Countries Offering The Best Indoor Activity Options For The Elder 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?

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. Yoga, pilates, gym classes and swimming are also popular and readily available for mature members of the public.

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, with a score of 10/10.

Below, Katie Ogden, an HCPC registered hearing aid dispenser and the Training Manager of ReSound, North West Europe, offers up some expert insight on why wearing hearing aids is important for all types of sporting activities:

“Wearing hearing aids for sport and leisure activities will not only improve someone’s safety and performance but also their communication with those around them. Whatever activity or sport you enjoy the most, either as an active participant or a spectator, hearing aids allow you to do what you enjoy and just be you again. With modern hearing aids, you just put them in, let them do their job and you can get on with your life.”

Wearing hearing aids on a walk or run allows the wearer to feel safer as they can hear their surroundings more clearly. It also allows the hearing aid user the option of being able to easily access their media and listen to a podcast or music.

Cycling with hearing aids will ensure the person wearing them can better hear surrounding noise like approaching traffic or hear any directions or signals given from others if cycling in a group.

When playing golf, wearing a hearing aid that is designed for tough weather conditions and reduces wind noise, will massively improve individuals hearing and make communication with others on the course much easier.

Team/competitor sports
Many activities like walking football, cricket or tennis require the participant to be able to easily communicate with either their competitors or teammates. That’s why wearing a hearing aid is important, as it allows them to better locate where noise is coming from and also hear the sound more clearly, making communicating easier.”

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:

  1. Number of Green Spaces and parks
  2. Number of gym classes for senior citizens
  3. Number of senior swim sessions available
  4. Number of Health & Fitness clubs and gyms
  5. Number of senior citizen dance classes and clubs
  6. Golf courses and clubs
  7. Lawn bowls pitches and clubs
  8. Number of allotments
  9. Yoga and Pilates Studios
  10. Number of swimming pools
  11. Number of cycle routes