55+ games promote physical, mental fitness
September means back to school for some, but for hundreds of older Islanders it’s time to put on their game faces.
This year’s Prince Edward Island 55+ Summer Games are happening in West Prince September 20 to 23. Together with the winter games – which were in Cornwall this year –they offer people from across the province a chance to challenge themselves and others in contests of skill and athletic ability.
“We have mental sports for people who may be less active – they can play crokinole and different card games that really get a lot of participation,” said 55+ Games Society president Marilyn Lowther, a participant and volunteer since 2000. “But there are also some demanding physical sports like hockey, bowling, curling, or bocce.”
The games keep evolving each year, with new events like fishing and archery added for 2017. More than just a week of events, the games offer a chance to sharpen skills, to keep bodies moving, and to broaden social networks.
“These games give people a chance to get together and to be physically active, to use their minds, and to build new connections,” Lowther said. “You get to know people right across the Island.”
Most participants are between 65 and 80 years of age, though some join as soon as possible – and others seem unstoppable regardless of the years.
“I’ve had different people in their fifties say they can’t wait to be 55 so they can take part,” she said. “Then there is one lady – who must be 92 now – who was a medalist in a couple of events last year.”
Eugene Murphy of Charlottetown is a veteran competitor who has played golf at the summer games and hockey at the winter games for years, until a shoulder injury persuaded him to hang up the skates and take up curling.
"I really enjoy the company of the people on my team, and it means a lot to be able to meet up with the team from Tignish and the guys from Summerside every year," he said. "It has helped me meet a lot of people.”
Murphy said he finds the games a great motivator to stay active and connected.
“I’ve always been interested in sports and competition, so this has allowed me to continue to do that in a very supportive and friendly way. It’s an extra motivation.”
For more on the 55+ Games visit https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/event/55-games.
The 55+ Games relies on community support and on the efforts of volunteers.
Interested people can help at the actual events or by being part of the 55+ Games provincial board. To find out more, contact the provincial office (902) 368-6570
Schedule of events - 55+ Summer Games 2017
O’Leary - Wednesday September 20
Golf – Scramble
Alberton - Thursday September 21
5 Pin Bowling
Cycling – 25KM
Tignish - Friday September 22
Pickleball – Singles/Pairs
Tignish - Saturday September 23