By Andrew Walker, MPH; NSGA Director of Health & Well-Being
Research shows a strong association between participation in Senior Games sports and the physical dimension of wellness. Data from the Sustained Athlete Fitness Exam (SAFE) conducted at the National Senior Games reveal senior athletes have high levels of cardiovascular health, strength, flexibility and balance.
Although exercise truly is medicine, and sports contribute to better physical health, Senior Games participants can still benefit from enhancing their overall wellness. Recent emphasis on mental health by Olympic and professional athletes illustrates the importance of a wellness mindset in sustaining our ability to compete at optimal levels.
The word wellness is common in popular culture today and is associated with many consumer products, from weighted blankets to essential oils. One definition for wellness used by our health and well-being partner, the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA), says wellness is derived from our ability to understand, accept and act upon our capacity to lead a purpose-filled and engaged life. In doing so, we can embrace our potential – physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, social, environmental and vocational – to pursue and optimize life’s possibilities.
Activity: Check in on Your Wellness
Building on the outstanding physical wellness scores of Senior Games athletes is a great starting point to look at the other dimensions of wellness.
In honor of Active Aging Week, coming up Oct. 2-8, we compiled stories of how National Senior Games athletes integrate the seven dimensions of wellness in their lives. Use these profiles on the NSGA Theme Page for Active Aging Week as a brief wellness check activity.
- Review each wellness dimension below.
- Go to the NSGA Theme Page to see unique Senior Games athlete stories.
- Consider the reflection statement provided for each dimension of wellness.
Seven Dimensions of Wellness
- Emotional: the ability to process, express and receive emotions in a healthy way.
- Environmental: respect for the natural environment and creating connections with nature through activities like forest bathing.
- Intellectual/Cognitive: the ability to deal positively with the adversities of life.
- Physical: the ability to build healthy habits and practices regarding our physical well-being, as well as the ability to end unhealthy ones.
- Vocational: the ability to get the most out of employment, educational and volunteer opportunities.
- Spiritual: development and practice of a strong personal value system and a meaningful purpose in life.
- Social: create and maintain healthy, life-giving connections with others.
Join us on social media during Active Aging Week, Oct. 2 –Oct. 8, for additional wellness tips.