Finishing Strong: Sponsored Athletes 2022 Wrap-Up

Aging

Year Three of the Senior Planet Sponsored Athlete program kicked off at the beginning of 2022 with five more spectacular older adult athletes. The team brought in sports and activities spanning from the ocean to the ice, and everywhere in between! As the 2022 program has now come to a close, we asked our athletes one last series of questions:

What has been the highlight of your wellness journey during your time as a Senior Planet Sponsored Athlete? What final tips or advice do you have for our community? What does “Aging with Attitude” mean to you?

Sally Saenger, 67

“The highlight during this time has been the ability to connect with so many different people across the United States and beyond: the other amazing Sponsored Athletes, the incredible Senior Planet staff, and the wonderful attendees in my classes. It’s opened up a whole new world for me — or should I say planet?

No matter your challenges, stay as active as possible. Find joy even in the smallest of steps, because every little bit helps. Don’t let age get in your way of doing what brings you joy. Then, do it with pride!”

Carolyn Hartfield, 74

“The highlight for me (this unintentional athlete) was the awakening that I am in fact an athlete! I have been participating in enjoyable and exciting activities as fun, personal challenges that keep me active and well — physically and mentally. Although I never considered myself an athlete, that is exactly what I have evolved into through the years. As a result, I am truly living my best life right now! According to my doctor, I am in exceptional health. I continue to be humbled and honored with this recognition.

I have grown more than I realized, and there is no doubt you can experience similar awakenings on your journey!

For anyone not sure what they want to do, I suggest trying something new, that you feel would be exciting and adventurous. That is how I discovered hiking in the mountains, and it literally changed my life! I enjoyed it, it stretched me a bit, and it led me to expand into other activities that are challenging and fun. I have grown more than I realized, and there is no doubt you can experience similar awakenings on your journey!

For me, aging with attitude is embracing the joys of aging and letting my little light shine upon others so that they may also savor in the spices of life!

Keo Capestany, 86

“The highlight of my journey was the favorable reaction to my second presentation titled ‘Strength Training to Fight Muscle Loss.’

Aging with attitude means a very significant positive change in my aging self-image.

My final piece of advice to the community: While it is true that we do not process iron very well in our food, we need it in the form of barbells!

Aging with attitude means a very significant positive change in my aging self-image.”

Evon “MsFAITH!” Bennett, 63

“The highlight of my wellness journey during my time as a Senior Planet Sponsored Athlete has been my experience ‘from tragedy to triumph’ after a horrible car accident. I was originally selected for the program based on my love for marathon walking, and I wanted to make sure that I finished strong so I could share my experience with the Senior Planet community — and I didn’t let that accident keep me from reaching my goal!

Staying connected to the Senior Planet family is so healthy for our minds, bodies, and souls as we age.

I encourage everyone to stay connected. Staying connected to the Senior Planet family is so healthy for our minds, bodies, and souls as we age. The fact that we can stay connected without leaving our homes makes it even easier than ever to encourage each other!

Aging with attitude means not letting anything slow me down as I keep moving!”

And last but certainly not least, a summary in poetry from our final team member…

Paul “PJ” Gammarano, Sr., 69

From lifting the progressive weight,
the benefits learned are quite great.

From out of our youth, the hula hoop–
cool…whether alone or in a group!

Enjoying the surf out a the beach
“to each his own”, or, Sally’s to teach?!

Walking, and for those who run
for their exercise or occasional fun…

…then there’s the frozen pond called “the ice”
to skate “stix & pux” or a scrimmage, very nice!

Choose your special calling, live it well;
the benefits are many, as time will tell.

Looking forward to years of Senior Planet teams,
those privileged to be chosen, as us…
…in 2022–to live their dreams !

Thank you to all of our amazing athletes who shared their personal wellness journeys with the Senior Planet community this year. We wish all of you a safe and healthy 2023! For a look back on everyone’s stories and blog entries, visit seniorplanet.org/athletes. Stay tuned for a big reveal as we name the 2023 Sponsored Athletes next week!

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