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Staying active key benefit of Senior Games

SALISBURY — Bodies in motion tend to stay in motion.

That’s a scientific principle, and also a principle of health.

It’s part of why Phyllis Loflin-Kluttz said the Salisbury/Rowan Senior Games are so popular.

This year marks 30 years of the local senior games, which help keep men and women aged 55 and up active and involved.

Loflin-Kluttz has been heading up the Salisbury/Rowan games for 15 years.

When she first took over, she said, there were just 68 participants. “We’re now over 700 strong,” she said.

Although Saturday’s anniversary celebration took place under gray skies and drizzle, 140 participants still turned out for the games, food and entertainment, organizers said.

The events include a mix of different events, from softball to bocce.

Even if they’re just tossing beanbags at targets, Carla Kimrey said, people are still active.

Kimrey said she’s coached softball the past two years. Now that she’s old enough to participate, she wanted to get out and play.

“She got me, six to zero!” said Renita Ritchie, following a spirited round of bean-bag toss.

Ritchie said taking part in activities “keeps you active.”

“Exactly,” Kimrey said. “I played softball probably 30 years, on a traveling team. Now I get to play again.”

The local Senior Games are one of 53 such organizations in North Carolina, Loflin-Kluttz said.

Up to now, the events have been for men and women ages 55 and up. Starting next year, anyone 50 and up can participate.

Down at the bocce court, Margaret Waddell, of Salisbury, took on her friend and co-worker Wanda Rainey — trying to bowl the heavy stone balls down the gravel lane toward their target.

Waddell said she’s been involved in the Senior Games for several years.

Nearby, Bob Goodwin said he credits physical activity with keeping him in good health.

“I’ve been doing this since I was 65, and on the 17th of October, I turned 83,” Goodwin said.

He’s been playing bocce, shuffleboard, mini-golf and more throughout that time.

“It’s not only being active with your body, it’s being active with your mind,” Goodwin said.

As Goodwin explained it, a person who’s more active, enjoying life, is bound to be in better health all around.

Bill Broadway, another longtime Senior Games participant, said he started coming out 14 years ago.

“It’s good clean fun,” Broadway said. His favorite events include bocce, horseshoes and the standing long jump. He’s also taken part in the softball throw.

“It don’t keep you young, but it makes you feel that you are,” Broadway said.

The day’s events came to a head with a concert by beach music band The Catalinas.

Meanwhile, Loflin-Kluttz said the local men’s 3-on-3 basketball team will leave this Thursday for the North Carolina Senior Games State Finals, to be held at East Carolina University.

Four men will participate in the bracket-format tournament, she said.

And, Loflin-Kluttz said, the schedule for the 2014 games events is already online at www.rowanseniorgames.org.

“We will start out in February, with our new games program from February to May,” she said.

Meanwhile, team sports will start in March and run all summer long.

Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.

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