On Your Mark ...Set...Register!
All over the internet and airwaves you can find secrets to living better and longer lives. Whether it’s a medication, diet or exercise plan, book, or even a mattress – everyone seems to be looking for the answer. Col. (Ret) William Stephens has learned the secret to well-being, one he’s practiced for 75+ years. It’s the power of positive thinking and its benefit to a long, happy and successful life. Col. Stephens sat down with me recently as I sought advice on participating in Senior Olympics, to share his thoughts on the benefits of this positive program.
Col. Stephens, or Bill, has been participating in Northern Virginia Senior Olympics since moving to the area in 2001, and is also serving on the NVSO committee. Throughout his distinguished Army career, Bill has always been involved in sports competitions, coaching and playing on unit basketball teams through 11 different command assignments. He was a part of medal winning 3-on-3 Senior Olympic basketball teams for several years here before having to slow down due to some health issues. (Bill on right, timing swimming events at a recent NVSO competition)
Slow down seems like the wrong term, though, since Bill still participates in water aerobics every day, coaches wife Jacqueline’s Senior Women’s Basketball team, and actively volunteers with the Senior Olympics. He may not be competing, but he’ll be courtside scoring and cheering on during NVSO’s basketball and other events. He credits the ‘Power of Positive Thinking’ to his continued zest for life.
“You have to wake up every day and say I’m alive and I have to do something good for myself,” Bill shared. “Put yourself in positive environments, look towards the future and as long as you are here, do something positive. Give yourself a challenge. The bottom line is, the power of positive thinking is important to staying well.”
Senior Olympics is a program for those of us 50 and older that fits in nicely with Bill’s philosophy. It can help add positive fitness to your lifestyle, put you in touch with people with positive attitudes and give you a goal to work for, which is important at any stage of life.
If you are ready, like me, to put some positive activity in your life and ‘Go for Gold,’ Bill has an important tip – get your doctor’s approval if necessary to compete and to help see what your limits are. “If you can’t do the very active events,” advises Bill, “look at what your capabilities are, then look at what the alternatives are.” Pick events that match your abilities and interests.
With more than 50 events, from cycling, swimming, track and field, basketball, tennis, golf, Bridge, Scrabble, Bunco and more, there truly is something for everyone. Just check out the on-line registration site at www.nvso.us or http://www.mdseniorolympics.org/ for the complete list and sign up by Sept. 1.
If they can do it, so can I! These pictures of recent Senior Olympic competitors appear courtesy of the NVSO and photographer Frank Ruth.
I’ve registered and picked my events, challenging myself with different types of competitions. I do a lot of walking, so I’m going to see if I’m up for the 3 mile walk. After growing up with three brothers and years of tossing with my son, I’ve signed up for the Football throw (seems a natural for a Pittsburgh girl). And since I’ve been practicing with my girls during their playing years, the softball throw seemed like a good choice. At least I don’t have to try to catch one. And for something a little less strenuous, (no one in my extended family can laugh, now) Mexican Chain Dominos. This is my family’s favorite game when we are all together, so I have lots of experience - maybe even enough to bring home a medal.
What is your favorite event? How do you train? Share your experiences here and read more about the Games at http://www.dcmilitaryliving.com/profiles/blogs/northern-virginia-se...