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June 1, 2014

Senior Olympics spotlights health of aged

Event coincides with national observance

Lynn Fry held out her arm for her mother Margaret VanVleet to hang onto as VanVleet stepped slowly across a balance beam.

VanVleet, a great-grandmother who normally uses a cane to stay balanced, nodded as an instructor mentioned the soft foam balance beam felt like “walking on marshmallows.”

The balance-beam exercise was one of nearly a dozen set up at WoodBridge Health Campus in Logansport Friday for the center’s second annual Senior Olympics.

Putt-putt golfing, a miniature hoop-shooting setup, shortened cornhole and a small soccerball-kicking area were just a few of several exercise stations set up inside and out at WoodBridge Friday. Participating seniors rotated around the stations, receiving scores at each one and sometimes trying out activities for the first time — like a Nintendo Wii balance game.

After VanVleet reached the end of the balance beam, she went on to watch her daughter stand on a machine resembling a floor scale while Fry tried to balance her weight in such a way that the image on the TV screen in front of her sent digital balls falling through a designated hole.

Fry, who has seven grandchildren, and VanVleet visited the event at the behest of Fry’s daughter.

“I didn’t know I was a senior until Rachel said, ‘Yeah, Mom, you qualify,’” Fry said.

Fry beat level one of the Wii game. Cane in hand, VanVleet tried the game next and showed up her daughter.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever done it. But that was fun,” VanVleet said.

And it’s a way to spur seniors to check out new activities that they could adopt at home for more regular practice.

The Senior Olympics on Friday and the national Senior Health and Fitness Day last Wednesday share the same purpose: To encourage older adults to stay physically active and take advantage of local health and fitness resources.

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