When it comes to physical activity, age is just a number. Seniors can still be active and competitive well into the three-digit age bracket. A large-scale version of this is through the Senior Olympics. The Johnson County Senior Center uses a mix of fun and friendly competitions to help seniors stay active and social through specialty sporting events like the Senior Olympics.
An example is a member of the center and national medalist, Dr. Robert Glenn. He learned about the Senior Olympics 20 years ago, but started competing in table tennis and golf around 2018. Since then, he has won medals at district and state competitions. At this point, Glenn has competed twice at Nationals and competed for the past few weeks in June to qualify for the 2023 competitions.
“The main point is to stay physically and mentally active,” Dr. Glenn explained. “You get bolder, not older. You go out and do things.
Seniors compete at the regional level, at the state level, and then can qualify for the national competition held every two years. Although the emphasis is on fun and physical health, there is also a social aspect.
Seniors have the chance to meet others with similar interests that they might not have crossed paths with otherwise. Additionally, endorphins from exercise may also contribute to improved mental health.
“We’d rather burn out than rust out,” explained Dr. Glenn, the philosophy behind many competitors, emphasizing the health benefits of staying active. “For strategy, number one is that you have to plan to show up. Second, you have to outlast your competitors.
The First Tennessee Human Resources Agency (FTHRA) is currently sending out senior Olympic bids for the Tennessee games. Anyone interested can speak to director Kathy Motsinger-Eller. Entries are also available at tnseniorolympics.com. Center members would love to compete in pickleball for the first time now that they’ve fallen in love with the sport and gained easy access to a local court.
The Johnson County Senior Center is a nonprofit organization that serves seniors age 60 and older. Membership is free and volunteers of all ages are welcome.
To learn more about available events, services and classes, visit johnsoncountyseniorcenter.com.