Several elderly people, including octogenarians and nonagenarians, in Vietnam have taken up badminton and petanque to stay fit and have fun with their remaining time.
While their peers typically practice morning exercise routines, these senior citizens have opted for these sports.
U-90 badminton playing grannies
In the past month, the cultural house in Tan Ky District in central Vietnam’s Nghe An Province has seen badminton games played by a dozen elderly people in the neighborhood.
Most of them are in their 70s, and several are around 90.
According to Thai Thi Thanh, a member of a grassroots Elderly People Association, around 5pm every day, when farmers return after a day’s work in their paddy fields, they gather at a stadium next to the cultural house for volleyball games.
The exciting, physically-demanding games draw a number of golden agers, who are eager to join but are too old to do so.
Thanh then suggested they play badminton, a light sport, for both their health and pleasure.
She demonstrated her strokes and skills while playing with her grandchildren.
The old people, most of who are women, instantly turned their attention to the badminton game.
They divide themselves into teams and practice every afternoon. Supportive of their sport passion, their children have bought them uniforms and kits.
Dao Thi Nhu, 90, shared that though she ached at first, she now feels much better.
Her joints have become more flexible, and she now sleeps soundly and has a good appetite.
Nhu added that they encourage one another to keep practicing for the immense health benefits the sport brings, while making sure they don’t exceed their limit or make physically taxing movements.
According to Dr. Tang Van Thanh, of Pleiku City General Hospital in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, regularly practicing badminton benefits elderly people as long as they take great caution and avoid strenuous moves or falls.
Exceptional U-90 petanque practitioners
In recent years petanque - a form of boules where the goal is to throw hollow metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball while standing inside a starting circle with both feet on the ground - has taken an increasingly strong foothold among local youths.
A number of elderly people have also taken up the sport, which can be practiced on almost any surface, including hard dirt or gravel, grass or sand.
Its simple rules, limited movement and low cost are what draw old men, in their 60s, 70s and even 80s, to the sport.
Despite their advanced age, they visit parks and culture centers throughout Ho Chi Minh City on a daily basis to practice the sport and have some fun with their peers.
Several boast exceptional skills which hold their younger “competitors” in awe.
Nguyen Van Xuan, 84, goes to the Labor Culture Center in District 1 every day for petanque games.
His slightly trembling hands can be deceiving: the old man in fact boasts incredibly accurate throws.
“The sport is less physically demanding than others while combining movements harmoniously. It’s really fun and healthful,” the man shared.
Nguyen Van Duong, 79, is a fixture at District 10’s Le Thi Rieng Park, which gathers many petanque players of his age.
He finds the fresh air, excitement of the games and his peers' company the most rewarding part.