Many of us probably have a set picture that comes to mind when we think of Olympic athletes or gold medal winners. Some of the characteristics associated with this person could be strength, health, enthusiasm and youth.
However, in 1985 a group of seven men and women from St. Louis embarked on a journey to redefine this once-held image. These same individuals would go on to form the original leadership of the U.S. National Senior Sports Organization working under the name National Senior Games Association. They exist today as a non-profit organization dedicated to motivating active adults to lead a healthy lifestyle through the senior games movement.
Several states including Kentucky hold their own Annual Senior State Games with qualifying competitions in the year preceding the NSGA National Championships. Athletes that meet specific criteria while participating in their SSG qualify to participate nationally. To date, the NSGA has held 13 summer national championships in various locations across the U.S.
Designating a particular area within a state for hosting these SSG is a bidding process. Franklin County won this year’s event.
What an amazing opportunity for our community. As you may have already seen, the United Way of Franklin County is preparing to host our state’s senior competitors Tuesday through Sunday. These games promote competition in a variety of activities, spanning every level of experience and skill set for seniors age 50 and over.
This week will consist of 18 different sports competitions including, but not limited to men’s and women’s golf and tennis, 1,500 meter cross country run, swimming, racquetball, bowling, bocce and archery. In addition to these various sporting events the Kentucky Senior Games are offer participants and visiting seniors a Fun Day set for 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Friday on the Old Capitol Lawn.
As part of Essential Public Health Service 3: Inform, educate, and empower people about health issues, there will be various health and fitness booths available free of charge.
Have you ever had the privilege of touring the inside of a colon? If not, join us on the Old Capitol grounds. Some of the other health booths include blood pressure checks, tobacco cessation information, body fat analysis, vision screening, osteoporosis information, healthy eating and cooking demonstrations provided by local chefs in the Kentucky State University Mobile Demonstration Kitchen and much, much more!
If you are interested in participating in the Kentucky Senior State Games or if you would like more information regarding the week’s activities, visit www.kentuckyseniorgames.com. Registration will be accepted on-site, but pre-registration is encouraged.
“I think that age as a number is not nearly as important as health,” said Bob Barker. “You can be in poor health and be pretty miserable at 40 or 50. If you’re in good health, you can enjoy things into your 80s.”
My question for you today is: “How old are you?”
Debbie Bell is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator in the Community Health Education Department at the Franklin County Health Department, 100 Glenns Creek Road.