The mental aspects of aging, including depression, lack of focus, and general melancholy, are real hazards for seniors. “Age of Champions,” a recent PBS documentary spotlights senior athletes who defy these hazards and succeed in competitive sports, including the Senior Games. The film’s producer Keith Ochwat summarizes the story of these athletes, exclaiming, “”It sort of shattered our perspective of aging.” The film highlights many stories, including that of the Celadrin Tigerettes basketball team in Louisiana, who have long dominated the senior women’s game.

One of the stars of the film is Mavis Albin, the 76 year old captain of the Tigerettes, who claims she and her teammates are “ordinary grandmothers, just doing extra-ordinary things.” She freely shares her secret for feeling good at an advanced age, stating, “I’d advise anyone, especially baby boomers, to start an exercise program, eat sensibly, take care of their bodies and stay around positive people.”

Ochwat was continually impressed by the focus and dedication of the players. He noted that the more successful players “all had amazing support networks…. And they also had goals.”Albin concurs with Ochwat’s assessment. When asked how she and her teammates, who have played together for over a decade, stay together, she proudly states, “We’re all very positive people, and we love to encourage each other rather than being negative. We encourage each other to keep our bodies up, eat sensibly and stay in the gym, and I think it rubs off on each one of us.”

There are lessons for all of us in the way these seniors continue to stay active and focused as they age. Bodies do break down, but the active and engaged mind helps ease the aging process. The athletes in this documentary defy stereotypes and offer a blueprint for living an engaged, energetic, and vital life at all ages.


Source: U.S. News & World Report