This week on our cruise, I headed up to the ship’s gym at 7am when it opened to practice my race walking.
I was surprised to see 20 other passengers my age already there on the tread mills, recumbent bikes and exercise machines. After 45 minutes walking about 5 miles an hour, I could tell that out of the 3,000 of the ship’s passengers, these guys (and gals) were serious athletes. They were still working at it when I left.
The same group of people, those who make it a point to include exercise in their daily routine, I have seen at senior centers, USATF Masters track meets, National Senior Games, local 5Ks and at my Active Adult Community. It’s a focused dedicated group that has made physical activity and competitions an important part of their lives.
Athletes For Life
As I talk with people at different events, I find a lot of them were athletes from early life at high school and even college. Many have run on track teams and run marathons. Many, like me, tapered off some of their physical activity after age 40, but in retirement, we have made a come back. Some kept up their physical activity but changed the things they now do. Either way, we are athletes for life.
The competitive spirit is alive and well in these athletes and is on full display here at Village at Deaton Creek on the softball field, pickleball court and during bocce play, to name just a few events.
That competitive spirit and game playing is what makes it fun and not just exercise.
Many advance to competition at local, state, regional and national and even international competitions. Here are some of the Senior and Master Games associations that have competitions for thousands of us 55+ athletes.
Competitive sports at all levels has many benefits. It is a motivating factor in getting us to train and practice. The competition is mental as well as physical. Personal pride also comes into play when you give it your best. You can amaze yourself when you do things you didn’t think you could do. Many of these competitions offer travel opportunities. You also meet other athletes your age with the same interest and commitment that you have.
It’s something to do, it’s interesting and even good for you. You don’t have to be an elite athlete to participate, just willing to give it a try. Pretty soon you will be looking forward to training and attending your next sports event.
As I write this, I am starting my training to compete at the USA Track&Field Masters National Outdoors Championship in Spokane WA in July. I will be competing in the 5K and 10K race walking events. Little did I know when I starting walking with Don and Lamont at Park Place Senior Center in Johns Creek five years ago, that I would be competing in a national walking event.