These Are the Four “Lifelong” Sports Worth Picking Up Right Now

How to unlock your fitness potential — now and for the rest of your life.

Teeing off on the sixth hole at Walnut Lane Golf Club. / Photograph by Steve Boyle

Sports that were once considered a little old-fashioned — like golf and tennis — are having a major moment with athletes of all ages, whether because they’re made for social distancing or because people long to shake up stale training routines.

Even if you’re a 20- or 30-something CrossFitter, rock climber or marathon runner, it’s important to find a sport that will stay with you long after your joints give out. The great news: These sports — plus others, like swimming and equestrianism — can be fun and intense in your early years while also promoting good physical, mental and social health in your 40s and 50s and beyond.

Here are four of the best “lifelong” sports that are worth picking up right now — and that you may end up loving for years to come.

Players on hole five at Walnut Lane Golf Club. / Photograph by Steve Boyle


Golf has a reputation for being loved by retirees and generous to geriatrics. That’s because it’s played at a leisurely zero-cares pace; it promotes cardiorespiratory endurance (especially when players walk — rather than cart — the course); and it can help lower the risk of early death for folks 65 and older. Keep reading here

Kelcey Johnson, founder of Swim Philly. / Photograph by Steve Boyle


Swimming is the ultimate low-impact sport, keeping you in shape and “improving your circulation and lung strength without stressing the joints like weight-bearing activities,” says Kelcey Johnson, owner and head swim coach of Swim Philly. Plus, swimming offers flexibility: You can do it casually to achieve fitness goals or for competitive reasons — think triathlons. Keep reading here.

Local rider and instructor Adrienne Dalessio. / Photograph by Steve Boyle


Horseback riding can be intimidating, but those who participate are getting an intense workout and positive brain food. Keep reading here.

Player Alivia Glenn at Philadelphia Tennis Club. / Photograph by Steve Boyle


Whether you’re playing doubles with friends at a public court or trying to emulate Serena Williams’s backhand at your neighborhood racquet club, the energy-exerting sprinting, rapid footwork and smashing serves of tennis offer much-needed catharsis. Keep reading here.

Published as “Find Your Lifelong Sport” in the Be Well Philly 2022 print issue.