Rugby isn’t a sport you would typically suggest as a way for the elderly to keep fit. But at Fuwaku Rugby Club in Tokyo, men in their 80s are still getting their boots dirty and their bodies bruised in anticipation for first-ever Rugby World Cup to be held on Japanese soil. From mauls to scrums and from line-outs to rucks, the veteran players at Fuwaku take a no-holds-barred approach to the game, playing just as they would have done as youngsters and just as the pros will when the World Cup kicks off on September 20.
Take Ryuichi Nagayama. At 86 years old, he’s one of the oldest and most ardent players on the field. He has broken his ribs, broken his collarbone, and has to check for an irregular pulse from time to time, but he says that doesn’t stop him from playing the sport that he loves.
Fuwaku, founded in 1948, was the first club of its kind but is now just one of 150 across Japan to hold competitive, full-contact games for over 40s. And with one of the fastest aging populations in the world, rugby doesn’t just keep the players active, it gives them a social life too as – ever with rugby players – the after-game drinks remain the most important part. To see the old-agers in action and get all the exercise motivation you’ll ever need, look no further.