And, they’re off! Well, not quite yet.
Registration for the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics (NVSO) opens on June 17, and all 50-and-older residents of the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church, and the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun and Prince William are encouraged to participate.
There are no qualification rounds or running shoes required (unless of course, you are planning to compete in the track and field events), but there is something for everyone, and just enough time to train your way to the top throughout the summer.
Robert Paine, the publicity committee chair for NVSO, has volunteered with the organization for the past three years and found that the Olympics are a great way for local seniors to really take advantage of the social and physical benefits of competition while being surrounded by their peers.
“The [senior] Olympics are a great opportunity for seniors in the Northern Virginia area to have fun, meet other seniors and get some great exercise and fellowship in their local communities,” says Paine. “We want to encourage all seniors, but especially seniors in their 50s and 60s, to get involved because studies show you should be taking care of your health as early as possible, and this is a great low-stress environment to compete in as a fun and healthy outlet with like-minded people.”
From badminton and pickle ball to bridge and Bunco, there are over 40 physical and mental competitions that will be held from Sept. 14 to 28 at over 25 locations in the Northern Virginia area. The locations are spread out so events are attainable for all senior residents throughout the region, says Paine, that way anyone can participate whether they’re in the heart of Arlington or at the far side of Prince William County.
Over 850 people competed in the 2018 games, but Paine knows there’s many more in the area that could get involved to make 2019 the biggest year yet.
“There’s definitely room for growth,” says Paine. His goal is to see more than 1,000 participants from across the region in events such as cornhole, cribbage, horse shoes and even a new division: jigsaw puzzle.
Also new for 2019, the organization declared that all registration entry fees are a flat $15, and participants can compete in as many events as they’d like. Note that there are still additional charges for golf, bowling, cycling and orienteering (competitors are given a topographical map and a compass, and are asked to use their navigational skills to find each point on the map).
Paine stressed the importance of seniors getting out and socializing, especially when so many are at risk of social isolation and the negative consequences that can come along with it. That’s why, he says, if you’re interested in competing and have not played one of the sports or games prior, reach out to a local recreation center or senior center to get involved.
“Start out small,” Paine says. “And check with your doctor first. But if you want to live a long, healthy life, make it a year-round thing,” and show off your skills at the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics. You could head home with your own medal and a new rallying group of friends (or competitors, but at these games they’re one in the same).
Incoming competitors can register online through the website by Aug. 31 or by mail (must be postmarked by Aug. 24). Interested in volunteering? Applications will be open on the website on July 8.
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