Washington State Senior Games

Benefits of Fitness

Active Aging

By Diana T. Yu, MD, MSPH
October 2017

The games are in July but it is never too early to start training and getting active now.

In my youth, I felt my relatives who were young adults, were so much older than me. The reality is that 10-12 years difference in our younger days is negligible now that we are all in our 60's and 70's. We are all lumped in under older adults, senior citizens, aged, old people!!!

My definition of old has definitely changed over the years. The depiction of an older adult as wrinkled, bent over, shuffling, arthritic and slow certainly does not fit me and many of the athletes that I see at the Washington State Senior Games! Age is just a number that signifies the years you have been alive. It has nothing to do with our capacity to remain active and be vibrant contributors to society.

The current emphasis on active aging will redefine how our youth view us as grand and great grandparents. The more we move and stay active, the longer we maintain our good health, stave off osteoporosis, and improve our mental well-being.

Recreational sports, walking, hiking, dancing, competitive sports, team sports are all still available for us to enjoy. The Washington State Senior Games has a variety of events for the serious and not so serious athletes. You just have to join in. Be sure to train and work up to attaining the level of competition you want to achieve. Joining training groups is a great way to socialize with folks who have similar interests. Learning proper warm ups, techniques and cool downs is a must, to prevent injury. The games are in July but it is never too early to start training and getting active now.

There are many downsides to our staying healthy and aging actively. We will put a drain on Medicare, social security and our pension funds. Our kids may have to wait longer to inherit and we will end up aging along with our children! Now wouldn’t that be a hoot. Recently my 88 year old mother laughed when my brother and I joined her in getting a senior meal discount!!

Our society benefits tremendously from the older, wiser generation who remains healthy and continues to contribute to society. Some are choosing to stay employed past the traditional retirement age; others are actively volunteering or finding second careers after "retirement."

Staying active is my fountain of youth. See you out on the field or dance floor, laughing, living it up and having fun!

Diana T. Yu
October 2017