Celebrating Senior Atheletes

All eyes have been on London over the past week, as athletes from around the globe compete for medals and a sense of achievement for themselves and their respective countries.

Athletes come in every shape and size, from the diminutive gymnasts – who float gracefully across floors, beams and uneven bars – to the towering figure of Michael Phelps, who has probably never “floated” a day in his life, choosing to dominate the water with a commanding presence (and an impressive wingspan).

Sports aren’t limited to a specific age, either. This year, 71-year-old Hiroshi Hoketsu of Japan, is the oldest Olympian competing in 92 years, first qualifying for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics on his country’s equestrian team. He also represented Japan in 2008 in Beijing, making London his third Olympic Games.

And ten of the 500 athletes representing the United States at the Games in London are age 44 or older, each of them representing either the equestrian or shooting teams.

In recognition of the continued fitness and competitive spirit of senior athletes, seven men and women formed the National Senior Games Association in St. Louis, MO, in 1985, and organized the first National Senior Olympic Games, held in St. Louis in 1987, with 2,500 competitors.

Since that first NSGA Olympics, the summer games have been held every two years in a different participating city, and the number of competitors has increased significantly with each competition. In the 2011 National Senior Olympics, held in Houston, TX, 10,100 athletes competed in events that included Archery, Badminton, Bowling, Cycling, Golf, Swimming, Race Walking, Triathlon, Volleyball, and more.

Athletes must meet or exceed minimum standards of play for their sport, and – in similar fashion to the traditional Olympic Games – only a handful will win the honor of representing their sport in the bi-annual competition.

In the 2010 Houston Games, Georgia athletes competed in Archery, Badminton, Basketball,  Bowling, Cycling, Golf, Horseshoes, Race Walk, Racquetball, Road Race, Shuffleboard, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Track & Field, and Triathlon.

John C. Taylor of Georgia was the oldest male competitor – representing the 90-94 age category – in Triathlon, a sport that can intimidate even much younger athletes.

For more information about the 2013 National Senior Olympic Games to be held in Columbus, OH, visit http://www.nsga.com/about-nsga.

What’s the secret to maintaining athletic ability well into one’s sixth, seventh – even eighth – decade of life?

“Continue to do one thing you like to do,” says Japanese equestrian Hiroshi Hoketsu. “I think that is much more important for your life than getting medals.”

Whether you’ve been an athlete throughout your life, or are just discovering the benefits  and enjoyment of a regular exercise routine, it’s easy to maintain that one – or more – activity in your low-maintenance ranch-style Windsong home. Each Windsong active retirement community was designed  with walkable streets and a private fitness center in the clubhouse, neighbors with similar life-stage experiences who make great accountability partners, and home designs that maximize accessibility, minimize hassles and provide opportunities to enjoy an active lifestyle.

Welcome home to Windsong  – Where Life’s A Breeze!

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