FROM THE PARK BENCH: Senior sports galore

  • Thursday, March 27, 2014

The last few weeks have been about youth sports and the variety of offerings available in our community. This week, senior sports is the focus of the column.

Seniors (defined by me as age 50 and older) are a very active and important part of the Riverview Park Activities Center membership. As younger athletes, we would “get in shape to play sports.” Now we play sports to get in shape.

How important is it to remain active, even if your abilities have declined since your younger days? In my opinion, it is critical. Weight or resistance training is important for bone health, even more so as we age. Our bodies are always losing cells, muscle tone and flexibility, but as younger individuals our active lifestyles help to increase all of these valuable biological needs. Without physical activity, the losers stay ahead of the new cells and we begin to atrophy. We lose flexibility, bone density and strength. It is imperative we fight back.

Having the competitive fire remains with athletes throughout their life. Once you get past the idea of decreased competencies and start to compete again, the thrill of being active becomes part of your daily routine. Here at the Activities Center, we started a program called NA to LA. It is three-person teams charting walking and riding miles to travel from North Augusta to Los Angeles in 2014. Several teams are moving “across” the country at an impressive pace and are now in Oklahoma. They will reach their goal in half the time allowed.

Our community held Senior Games last fall to encourage competition. Plans are being made to have these games again in September.

As a next step, the South Carolina State Senior Games are held annually in Florence at Francis Marion University. More than 1,000 senior athletes are expected and will be competing in a variety of active (and passive) sports from May 14 through 17. The entry deadline is fast arriving and for complete details visit www.scseniorgames.com. To really be impressed, visit www.nsga.com for the National Games being held in Minneapolis, Minn., in July, 2015. More than 12,000 athletes are expected to be in attendance for this fastest-growing sporting event in America.

Active seniors are an inspiration to all of us, regardless of age, to lead a healthy lifestyle.

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