Health and fitness is often focused on the young, to the point that as athletes age they often get discouraged that they can’t compete in their old sports anymore. Well fear not, young-at-heart! There is… the Senior Games, with different age brackets.
A lot of what you’d see at the National Senior Games looks familiar if you’ve ever watched the Summer Olympics: there’s track and field, basketball and swimming. At the Summer Olympics, however, you will not hear voices in the crowd cheering “Go, Grandma!”Everyone at these Games is over 50 and they play some sports that will likely never appear at the Olympics.
I JUST discovered the Senior Games this morning, and I’m already excited to sign up when I’m old enough to qualify – that’s only 20 years away, so I better start practicing. 🙂
But for those who already qualify, this is a great sporting event that should be shared out with more seniors. People like my dad, a lifelong athlete who tries to keep up with the young folks perhaps a bit too much, would make a killing in some of these events.
Interesting article about the value of non-elimination games (the original author focused on “non-competitive” but there are many competitive games that don’t involve elimination):
A study presented in May 2008 established that the structuring of children’s games has a significant effect on energy expenditure.
A research team led by Karla Bruggeman and David Dzewaltowski, Ph.D., measured activity during both elimination- and non-elimination games, using accelerometers, in 29 children in grades four through six. Both normal weight and overweight children participated in the study, but were not separated for analysis.
In non-elimination games, kids accrued more overall physical activity due to not having to spend time on the sidelines as a result of elimination. They also accumulated significantly more moderate and vigorous physical activity than elimination games. Both sets of games were adopted from a children’s program devised by a nonprofit group that uses various pieces of equipment to facilitate non-competitive play; elimination games were modified from non-competitive versions.
Children were surveyed for self-efficacy, enjoyment, and peer victimization following both types of games. Results showed that enjoyment was somewhat higher following elimination games, although enjoyment scores were high in non-elimination games as well. There were no reports of peer victimization in either set of games, but were significant increases in self-efficacy after both sets.
“The games in this study were part of fun and enjoyable day camp,” Bruggeman said. “It is likely that a well organized and positive game experience increases a kid’s confidence regardless of elimination or non-elimination game conditions.”
Again, the article author was focusing on non-competitive sports, but really the evidence is looking at non-elimination sports. While I don’t find anything wrong with competitive sports, I know they’re not everybody’s cup of tea, and I think it’s great to emphasize the fact that you don’t need to be playing on a team sport or competing against others in order to gain the same benefits from play. And there are lots of non-competitive physical activities that kids can and do partake in: parkour, running, climbing, digging in the dirt, parachute play, biking… what else? Name your favorite non-competitive physical activity in the comments.