This week I was a participant in the North Fulton Golden Games, a collaborative effort by 5 local cities that provides a month-long series of Olympic-style events and activities (shot put, discus, one-half and one mile walk, one-mile run, tennis, golf, and bowling) for adults age 50 and older.
Participants compete in track and field events, pickleball, tennis tournament, golf tournament, Bocce ball competition, ball room dancing, swimming and more. I came in first in the one-half mile walk in my age group and enjoyed several other activities. Our senior center helped with sign up and even transportation.
There is a state competition and in my state it is the Georgia Golden Olympics which is scheduled for September 17-20, 2014 in Warner Robins, GA. Every state has a similar event and here a senior games list by state. All this feeds into the National Senior Games Association which will have the 2015 National Senior Games in Bloomington/Minneapolis/St. Paul in July 3-16, 2015 in which they are expecting 12,000 athletes ages 50 and up from all over the county.
Boomers Stay Active With Outdoor Games
Many of us boomers had indoor jobs all those working years and couldn’t really spend too much time outdoors. Now that we are retiring, it is a nice benefit of retirement to get outside. Many boomers are getting outside with outdoor games which provide fresh air, vitamin D, exercise and socialization with your fellow players.
Games played on a schedule give you a reason to get out of the house and get going. For example, my wife Mary Ann and I play Bocee every Monday and Wednesday at Park Place Adult Center and we look forward to playing every time. Senior centers provide an opportunity to join some of the outdoor games right in your neighbor.
Active adult communities have all kinds of outdoor games for boomers. We just spent a few days at Sun City Carolina Lakes outside Charlotte NC and here are some of the most popular outdoors games being enjoyed there. All of the pictures below were taken by me at Sun City Carolina Lakes.
Boomers Enjoy Golf, which is one of the most popular outdoor games ever.
Pickle Ball is an extremely popular outdoor game enjoyed by active baby boomers. Quite a social activity as well as great exercise.
Tennis of course is enjoyed everywhere by boomers and remains one of the most popular outdoor games.
Bocce Ball is a great social game and can be played by anyone. This one is my favorite.
Softball is another very popular game with boomers when a playing field is available like in a recreational park or active adult community. This is a great team sport and boomers love to dress up in their uniforms, rallying their team mates, and tail gating.
There are many more outdoor games like horseshoes. volleyball, basketball, badminton, croquet, corn hole, ladder golf and others. These are many organized outdoor activities other than games for individuals like walking clubs, running, boating, fishing, swimming, bide riding and others.
Why Boomers Enjoy Outdoor Games?
Boomers are getting involved with these outdoor activities to enjoy the outdoors, get some exercise and meet new friends.
This past week I went down to Warner Robins GA to the Georgia Golden Olympics games to participate in the 1500 meter race walk in hopes of qualifying for the National Senior Games in Minneapolis MN in July 2015.
The Georgia Golden Olympics are held every year in September down in the middle Georgia city of Warner Robins, home of Robins Airbase.
This year those who participate and come in at the top four positions qualify for the National Senior Games which are only held every other year. 2014 is the qualifying year at the state level for the 2015 National Senior Games.
We only spend Thursday PM and left Friday PM but did get to see several events.
On Thursday our first stop was the Warner Robins Senior Activity Center where we registered and saw the list of people who would be competing in my event on Friday. We got a T-shirt and other items in a welcome package.
Next we headed over to Robins High School’s McConnell-Talbert Stadium on nearby S. Davis Drive where a lot of the Track and Field events were being held.
We spent some time watching the high jump where both male and female contests had a friendly but competitive match. It amazed me how high they were jumping. I saw more than a few ace bandages and ice packs.
I got to check out the impressive track where I would be race walking the next day.
On Friday morning I got up early and was one of the first ones to arrive at the stadium for Jim Norvill’s race walking seminar.
I stayed to watch and photograph the 5K race walk. There were about 11 contestants ranging from seasoned veterans to a new comer or two.
These race walkers really put a lot in to the contest which is about 3.1 miles or little over 12 times around the track. Several of the same race walkers would be coming back at 1pm for the 1500 meter race walk that I had signed up for.
I stopped by the Senior Activity Center again to check things out and met Ms. Vicki Pilgrim who was directing these games and doing an excellent job keeping track of so many things going on with the events and people.
After picking up my wife Mary Ann, checking out of the Hampton Inn on Watson Blvd and getting a bite to eat, we headed over to the stadium to watch the 100 meter dash. I ran in to a fellow I had met back in Alpharetta training at the Old Milton High School. He is 80 years old and had won the 50 meter dash the day before and I watched him win the gold in the 100 meter race too. He did it faster than I could have and I am only a baby at age 68. He’s the gentleman at the top right in while shirt in the photo below.
Mary Ann’s brother Mike and wife Diane were nice enough to come watch me compete at 1pm in the 1500 race walk. I was uncertain as to how it would be going since I had only been race walking for two months and had hurt my hip a week before. I did good and came in second in my age group winning the silver and qualifying myself for the National Senior Games. I think I may just make the trip to Minnesota for the National’s next year.
While getting my medal engraved back at the senior activity center I stood in line with other medal winners and we shared our excitement and stories. One lady (pictured below) had won several medals in shot put, discuss, race walking and others and is also planning on going to the nationals.
“Others won medals in swimming, cycling, golf, pickleball, basketball, table tennis and horseshoes.”
We made the ride back to Atlanta tired but happy that I had won a medal. I would have loved to stay longer and participated in and viewed more of the competitions. Maybe next year I will stay two nights instead of one.
The registration is not open yet for the Nationals but when they do open this Fall, I will be planning my trip. This will be a great incentive for me to continue my race walking hobby and really improve my technique, speed and endurance. I plan to enter the 1500 meters and the 5K race walks. They are on two consecutive days so that will work out fine.
I have been to Minneapolis before to attend a conference but my wife never has been there. Attending the Nationals will be a good excuse to have a vacation getaway for us.
Zumba Gold is a fun workout for anyone, any age, any ability and Zumba Gold was created for the older active adult . It combines Latin and international music with a safe and effective workout system creating a dance workout with a party like atmosphere! Come check out the hottest fitness party in town!
I could see from my upstairs home office the UPS delivery truck was in the driveway when I heard our door bell ring. I jumped up to get the door but my wife Mary Ann was already in the foyer. I will get it, it is for me said Mary Ann enthusiastically. This is not our normal deal, the one where Mary Ann answers the phone and I answer the door.
Later I come downstairs to have a cup of tea and see Mary Ann has unpacked the contents of the mystery package which was delivered. It is dance shoes. She has tried them on and walking around to break them in. She even does a little dance step routine on our new hardwood floor in the family room. She is excited. They fit good and look good (see photo). I didn’t even know there was such a thing as dance shoes.
The week before we visited our new Johns Creek Active Adult Center and Mary Ann signed up for the Zumba Gold class, a six week session meeting every Tuesday. Zumba, the brochure says, “is a fun workout for anyone, any age, any ability and Zumba Gold was created for the older active adult . It combines Latin and international music with a safe and effective workout system creating a dance workout with a party like atmosphere! Come check out the hottest fitness party in town!”
She attended the first class and came home pretty much exhausted and excited about the class. She said she couldn’t believe how stiff she was. (I think this class will remedy that!). But this is going to be fun exercise that you look forward to doing.
There was about 10 other dance members. The age is 62 plus. She talked with another lady in the class who said she plans to come back next week also. The instructor told the attendees about how “dance shoes” would make it so much better for them than using gym shoes, thus the package.
Mary Ann’s dance class is a good example of the purpose of Active Adult Centers and that is to get you up and active and doing something fun with potentially new friends. Meanwhile I am looking over the schedule of active adult programs and activities to see what interests me. So far the walking club and the book club look good.
If you haven’t been to an Active Adult Center you need to find one in your neighborhood and check it out. You may be glad you did, just like Mary Ann did.
In the exhibit hall at #Lifeat50 in Atlanta, there was an exercise class going on just about all the time. The time I stopped by to snap this photo, these baby boomers were really getting into the exercise program. I hope no one hurt themselves. Some of the exercise classes were led by celebrities like Martina Navratilova, AARP’s Fitness Ambassador. I am not sure who this instructor is but she had the class really going.