A walk around the block is good. A little more going up and down stairs is too. But some older women just might get you thinking there’s much more to healthy aging than that. In San Diego, CA, there is a women’s basketball team that competes and plays hard. “We play to win” they say. What’s different about them is that you have to be age 80 and above to join the team.
When you watch and listen to the video of the team, note some of the most important things they say about the experience of doing this.
Someone inspired them to get started. It was a former gym teacher. Undoubtedly she knew the importance of exercise. No one made them do it, but they were all willing to take a chance to be a team.
They let no one stop them. Others told them they were crazy to do it, or they were too old. They put all that aside and went for it.
They love it. To a woman, they all say how much they enjoy playing, being on a team and being together.
They value the friendships that come from their joint efforts. “the friendship, the sisterhood, the family” is how they put it. The companionship of being on the team together is clearly important and satisfying to each of them.
As these women describe, you don’t have to be a star athlete, or accomplished in sports to be part of a team of older ladies. They say, if you can stand upright and move your legs you are welcome to join. As an inspiration to all of us, they are an example that age does not have to mean a lot of sitting around. Most of the women on the San Diego Splash are 85 and up! No doubt some have various medical things going on. Yet they don’t let whatever limitations they may face stop them from being active.
Perhaps you are not inclined to go for a basketball team. (I wouldn’t considering I’m barely over five feet tall). But there are so many other things older people enjoy, regardless of whether you have some physical issues. Bocce ball is popular near me, and looks like fun. Pickleball is hot around here at this time, as is tennis, and swimming. In my gym, located in a county with more people over 60 than any other county in my state, there are always white haired folks using the aerobics machines every time I’ve been there. You find them in every movement class that is less than super-charged. Senior Stretch, classes for those with arthritis, water aerobics, and gentle yoga are some of the many choices. Healthy aging is unspoken as a goal, but it is lived.
With the New Year just ahead and those resolutions people make looming, it is worth considering creating movement as larger part of your life. If you need a little inspiration, watch the San Diego Splash over-80 basketball team video a few times. You can’t help but smile.