There is a common misconception that as people age they become lethargic and waste away hours in front of television sets. However, a group of seniors in South Florida is determined to defy the negative stereotypes by finding new ways to stay active and engaged as they age. Ann Langfeldt, 92, completed her first 5K in April 2019. She was among a group of 17 seniors – all residents of La Posada, a Kisco Senior Living Community in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida – who decided to participate at the prompting of Linda Borgmeyer, occupational therapist at La Posada. Their ages range from 72-92 years, and many of the seniors placed first, second or third in their respective age groups.
Competing in the race left them feeling empowered and wanting something more. On the bus ride back to the senior living community, Borgmeyer listened as the residents provided feedback saying the race was fun, but not exactly senior friendly because it was designed for all ages. They also said more people in their age groups would have likely participated if there was a variety of distances to choose from. After taking all this feedback into consideration, the idea to create a track event exclusive to senior citizens came to Borgmeyer.
“We are excited to partner with AARP and host the inaugural ‘Wisdom Warriors Challenge,’” said Borgmeyer. “This event will be open to anyone age 55 and older across the country who would like to compete. Individuals will have the opportunity to win first, second or third place ribbons in their age category. Additionally, other teams from retirement communities around the U.S. will have the chance to compete for a coveted team trophy. Our goal is to inspire others around the country to participate in this year’s event or host a similar annual event in their area.”
The scientific community has proven that how well we age is influenced by diet, lifestyle, and physical activity level. Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP, is leading the charge by driving a new social consciousness regarding aging. Her signature rallying cry is “Disrupt Aging!” Borgmeyer and the seniors who live at La Posada are answering the call and hope to inspire other seniors to join them as they push themselves to reach new limits.
“After witnessing the sense of empowerment expressed by the La Posada athletes, I felt compelled to bring them a new and challenging event to compete in and showcase their strength to the world,” said Borgmeyer. “If seniors are brave enough to try something new and step out of their comfort zone, I believe they will find they are capable of more than they imagined in this chapter in their lives. For these active adults, age is just a number and there is nothing holding them back.”
Wisdom Warrior Challenge Event Details:
100-, 200-, 400-, 800- and 1600-meter dashes
4x100-meter relay race
Watson B. Duncan Middle School (5150 117th Ct N, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418)
Date: March 14, 2020
Time: 9:00 AM
Beginning December 15 on Active.com