Awesome Competitive Sports For Adults Over 40 (And How To Get Involved)

Generally, in many sports, once you turn 40 your sporting career is over…but don’t despair, there are many options for competitive sports for adults!

However, the majority of us don’t even get that far in the first place!

Those of us who are lucky will continue our sporting career into college; although, after that, our sporting ambitions tend to go downhill – and pretty quickly.

You can easily find a 6-foot-and-under basketball club, join a walking soccer team, or even lend your athletic enthusiasm to your local bars during the Super Bowl – although, otherwise, that seems to be it.

Or, that’s how it used to be, anyway.

These days, over 40-year-olds aren’t giving up that easily, with many people turning over a leaf and entering an impressive master-level athletic career.

While you won’t be lacing up your cleats and putting on your helmets to stampede onto the baseball or football field again – however, there are some semi-pro leagues if you want to test your limits! – instead, there are many new sporting adventures and opportunities to take part in.

With plenty to do for those over the age of 40. Depending on the sanctioning organization, a masters-level athlete is often depicted differently.

Although, generally, the cutoff can range anywhere between 30 and 40.

However, your sporting career doesn’t have to end after this – with many opportunities for people of all ages in sports.

Before embarking on any sporting activities, please ensure that you are cleared by your doctor first.

While our bodies may be over the age of 40, our minds sometimes think we are still 18.

Competitive Sports for Adults

Running And Track

When it comes to competitive sports, this is probably the most popular one among adults.

Not only is it taken extremely seriously but many people will go on to compete in long-distance races such as marathons and events.

And yes, you can take part even if you’re over 40!

Generally speaking, unlike some other sports, running (see also ‘How To Start Running After 40‘) is one of those sports where age doesn’t matter – you’ll see runners in their 40s, 50s, and even 60s! – while pumping out some impressive times.

Likewise, you’ll also find many recreational runners who simply enjoy taking part in a string of 5k events.

These are typically held throughout the year and you may even win a t-shirt out of it!

Whichever type of runner you are, you will still receive all the benefits from taking part in the sport.

Running makes for a great fat burner and cardiovascular exercise – which everyone can benefit from as we begin to age.

Whether you’re participating in the next marathon, the humble 5k, or even a 100-meter dash, all these events will help keep your heart rate up and pumping.

How To Get Started?

If you’ve been inactive for a long time, then a good place to start would be a walking program.

On the other hand, if you’re perfectly fit and up for a challenge, you could consider participating in your local 5k and start working your way up from there.

Cycling And Mountain Biking

Cycling is a similar sport to running in terms of receiving cardiovascular benefits; although, this sport is much easier on the joints.

Therefore, if you experience knee problems, or simply want to experience the rush of wind in your hair and the bugs in your face, then you’ll be glad to know that there are many opportunities for over 40s to participate in cycling.

Some cycling opportunities include:

  • Mountain Biking – If you’re a thrill-seeker, then you’ll love racing up and down woodland trails.
  • BMX – Yes, there are even BMX opportunities for those older racers out there.
  • Road Racing – Similar to running, older cyclists can participate in long-distance cycling races.

Alternatively, you don’t even have to race.

You will still receive all the benefits of cycling by digging out your bike from the garage and going on a simple bike ride around your neighborhood.

How To Get Started?

Like most sports, it’s important to start easy and work your way up from there.

Even if you’re completely fit and healthy (see also ‘Getting Into Shape After Age 40‘), with cycling; you’ll be moving muscle that may not have been used in a while.

Therefore, once you have worked up some confidence, you can consider entering a local cycling race.


Preserving strength is a major concern for some people as we begin to age.

When you get to your 40s and 50s, you begin to notice a depletion in your muscle mass (see also ‘Top Supplements For Maintaining Muscle Mass In Older Adults‘).

Fortunately for you, there are many athletes well over the age of 40 who continue to achieve and build strength in weight-training sports.

Therefore, if you’re looking to impress and put the younger generation in their place at the gym, then pulling out the big guns is a good place to start.

Whether you are deadlifting, using the bench, or squatting, soon enough, you will have all the respect at the gym.

Start simply by competing in a few local competitions, and then, once you get good, you can even compete in the master’s level and even earn a few records.

If the whole powerlifting showdown isn’t your scene, then there are plenty of bench-press-only events that you can take part in without any of the back-breaking and heavy leg training.

How To Get Started?

Unless you’ve been weightlifting for years, it’s best to start with the basics.

Then, slowly build the foundations which will help you lift heavier weights.

Following a strength-building program is a great way to do so. If you can get a local coach or personal trainer, that is even better!



If you don’t care how fast you can run or how much weight you can lift, and simply want to look good in old age, then bodybuilding might just be the sport for you.

For both men and women, body sculpting and bodybuilding are great ways to stay athletic and look great while doing so.

Even if you don’t want to compete in the competitions, advanced nutrition and exercise definitely pay off!

How To Get Started?

Using a basic strength training program alongside attention to your diet will put you in the right direction to bodybuilding.

If you have some free time, take a deeper look at the science behind muscle building and nutrition.


The first thing many people think about when they hear the word triathlon is endless days of running, swimming, and cycling all within brutal conditions.

And hey, while sometimes this can be the case, with many over 40s putting themselves through extreme Ironman events, you can opt for a more less-severe event.

Before jumping off into the deep end, you can build up the nerves to compete in the extreme ones by participating in local triathlons.

Typically, these consist of safer, shorter swims, runs and biking.

Alternatively, if you aren’t a fan of swimming, you can take part in a biathlon which simply consists of running and cycling.

Full triathlons are an incredible test of a person’s physical fitness.

If you don’t feel like you’re at that stage just yet, work your way up to one.

Likewise, there are many other dramatic paths to take which fill you with satisfaction.

How To Get Started?

Firstly, follow the previously mentioned advice for both biking and running.

For the swimming aspect, you could start off safe by joining your local swimming club.

Then, once you’re brave enough, start looking into local triathlons in your area, or even biathlon events!

Competitive sports for adults - triathlon

Tips And Precautions

While you may feel ready to jump into whatever sport comes your way, you should make sure to follow these important points first.

  • Firstly, check with your doctor before embarking on any strenuous activity. As the saying goes: it’s better to be safe than sorry!
  • When you first start cycling or running, ensure you are choosing safe paths to do so. If you can, choose paths or trails away from car traffic.
  • When learning about weight lifting, seek advice from a coach or personal trainer. Also, when performing any heavy lifting, always have a spotter on standby to help you if needed.
  • Remember to take it slow. If you haven’t trained your muscles in a long time, then they are going to need to take some time to adjust. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself on the first day.
  • And lastly, have fun! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, while the road may look long to get you into a competitive state – it will be worth it; both physically and mentally.

Final Thoughts

You’re never too old to try a new sport.

While you may feel discouraged – with your back pains and fear of getting injured – starting a new sport always provides more good than harm!

Not only will you become physically fit but also mentally.

Hopefully, this guide has informed you of some awesome competitive sports that over 40s can participate in.