Guest Opinions

Idaho Senior Games: Visualizing an active lifestyle

The target audience for this column is men and women older than 50. My question for you is, can you visualize an active lifestyle well into your 70s and 80s? As the state coordinator for the Idaho Senior Games, I witness the amazing results that many of our competitors have achieved due to creating a habit of being active at least three or four days a week.

Every year in August, the Idaho Senior Games puts on 18 different sports for approximately 500 men and women older than 50. The biggest percentage of these people are just regular folks who in most cases have found an activity that they enjoy. Some of those activities include tennis, pickleball, bocce ball, softball shuffleboard, cycling, swimming and walking — yes walking, it might be the very best activity for long-term good health.

When speaking to groups about the Senior Games, I do start with a question. What are you doing on a regular basis to extend your quality of life? When we get into our 50s and 60s, if we are not active on a somewhat consistent basis, the body will start deteriorating rather rapidly. On the other hand, if we are active, and if by chance we can find an activity that we enjoy, our bodies have the ability to perform at an amazing level well into our 70s and 80s. Come to a couple of events at this year’s Idaho Senior Games and you will see what I am talking about.

Visualizing an end result is so important in trying to achieve any goal. I believe this is the biggest problem people older than 50 have in starting into a fitness lifestyle. If in your lifetime you haven’t been athletic, you might have a difficult time visualizing yourself competing in the Idaho Senior Games or being active well into your 70s and 80s. The saying that the longest journey starts with a single step is certainly true in starting a fitness lifestyle. The simple process of walking around the block in your neighborhood can lead to an active lifestyle that will extend your quality of life.

How about starting your lifestyle change with a simple small step? On Saturday, May 28, the Idaho Senior Games and Shu’s Idaho Running Co. are hosting a Fun Run/Walk at Julia Davis Park (Agriculture Pavilion) across from Zoo Boise. We will have a one-mile and 2.5-mile course with a free lunch and some handouts after the event. We will be able to answer any questions you might have about the Senior Games and also will register athletes who are going to compete in the 2016 Games.

This simple step might be the beginning of a big positive change in your quality of life, whether you are 50 or 70 years of age. The registration will start at 10 a.m. and the event at 11 a.m.

For more information contact contact me at 11102 W. Hazelwood Drive, Boise, ID 83709, call 208-861-8000 or email

Mike Thornton is the state coordinator for the Idaho Senior Games.