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Over-60s gym bunnies are more likely to be churchgoers

04 November 2016

NEWLY retired people who join a gym or a political party are more likely also to join a church or other religious group, analysis from the think tank the International Longevity Centre (ILC) suggests.

Research by the centre into a decade’s worth of data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing showed that over 60s who join a gym are four per cent more likely to join a religious group, and those who sign up to a political party are eight per cent more likely to join a religious group.

This is against the backdrop, however, of a marked fall in those between 60 and 70 who belong to a religious group, an ILC researcher, Dr Cesira Urzì Brancati, said.

The ILC says that churches and other religious bodies should look to make the most of the trend among this age group to take up new activities as they retire.

Belonging to a religious group — whether church or other faith — also has a small but positive impact on this age group’s sense of happiness and self-worth, the analysis found.

Dave Eaton from ILC UK said: “Every aspect of our society and economy is affected by our rapidly ageing population. This analysis might suggest that efforts to boost membership across a range of organisations could be best focused on targeting a new generation of over 60s looking to become more active and try something new.”

The ILC UK held a conference on the future of ageing this week, which was addressed by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey.

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