Play Lawn Bowls, Live Longer & be more healthy.


Play lawn bowls, live longer and be more healthy !!!!

(This article is from the Napier Courier, by  Garry Ravenwood) 

This is the very clear message from Professor Grant Schofield of the Auckland University of Technology.

Professor Schofield is considered to be New Zealand’s leading expert in the field of physical activity and health.  From his 16 page, 5,000 word scientific analysis I am attempting to extract and summarise the research results into 600 words and “Normal Peoples Language”  If you would like Professor Schofields full research report then Email

Physical activity, even of a moderate intensity is essential for human health.  Prolonged sitting in your Lazy Boy is extremely bad for your health.  The only thing worse is smoking!

Lawn Bowls is a popular and accessible sport in New Zealand and is played by a wide age group of both sexes. For those over 65 it is ranked very high at No 5 in recreational sports with 13.5% participating compared to golf at No 7 with 10.5%.  Walking at a moderate speed for a minimum of 30 minutes is rated among the top exercises for health and playing bowls for 1 hour is about the equivalent of a 30 minute walk  but has the advantage of using more of the body particularly with bending.

While physical activity (PA) is important for all ages, older adults are of particular concern firstly because they have lower levels of PA and greater levels of sedentary behaviour, and secondly their PA continues to decline and sedentary behaviour continues to increase with advancing age.

Physically active older adults, have improved body composition (body fat and muscle mass); higher bone mineral density; improved cardiovascular ‘fitness’ and improved coronary risk profile e.g., lower blood pressure, better insulin sensitivity, lower cholesterol. Psychological improvements, such as mental health, cognitive function, and the management of disorders e.g., depression and anxiety, have also been found

View movement as an opportunity, not an inconvenience. Dropping something on the floor which you then have to bend down to retrieve is an excellent exercise  Be active every day in as many ways as possible. – use it or lose it !!! Do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most if not all days of the week.   If possible, add some vigorous exercise for extra health benefit and fitness

My summary of Dr Schofields research is that playing lawn bowls has multiple health benefits in most aspects of health of both mental and physical including osteoporosis, diabetes, alzheimers,  some forms of cancer, depression and anxiety.  Playing bowls can prolong a healthy and enjoyable life.  It is great to see many players in their 80s still enjoying playing.  Bowls is a very easy game to get into.  Most clubs offer free coaching and the free use of bowls.

Garry Ravenwood.