A perpetual challenge for everyone, what can we do? The Saskatchewan Senior Fitness Association’s (SSFA) goal is to give seniors in the province ways to keep active, whatever they want to do.
Dave Weiman with the Parkland Valley district of the SSFA, said that they’ve got many events on offer, from card games to very active events like track and field. The group tries to be as active as they can, partnering with groups like the New Horizons in different towns through the district.
“Yorkton is kind of unique, because they really don’t have one umbrella senior’s club.”
In Yorkton, there are a variety of things available. There are bridge and cribbage clubs in the area, and pickleball courses that are growing in the area. He also notes that tennis is popular with seniors in the area, while bowling is also popular. There is also a poetry and short story competition, which Weiman hopes to get more popular.
He notes that every community has different interest – Melville, for example, has people active in shuffleboard, while it is not quite as popular in Yorkton.
Pickleball is one of the big hits for seniors in the area, and the program has been growing steadily over the years. It’s a hit because with underhanded serves, there are longer rallys, and it’s a slower paced game.
“You get so much more action for less motion, and that’s what makes it so senior friendly... Mark my words, this sport is going to stay, and it’s going to stay strong.”
One thing that Weiman wants to see is more people taking part in track and field, which he said is currently one of their more disappointing events. This year’s track and field district competition will take place in Melville near the beginning of June, and Weiman hopes to see a better turnout this year, and hopes area seniors are more willing to give it a try.
“We’re not asking people to be in the top physical shape, trying out and practicing for months ahead. Just come out and try out that day.”
One of the unique things that seniors can do is make events that are more attuned to their abilities. He points to an event called pre-determined walk. They are in 1500 and 3000 meter lengths, and people have to predict how long it will take them - the person who gets closest to their predictions win. It’s a great way to stay active, because in order to get your time right, you have to get a good idea of how your pace works.
“While you’re practicing, you’re walking!”
While part of the organization, Weiman is relatively young in the group, still being under 65. Working with the group, it’s encouraging to see how many people are still active as they get older.
“I find it very inspiring, because I deal with a lot of people in their 70s and 80s that are very active. Mentally, physically, and emotionally, they do a lot more than guys my age do! I find it very encouraging to be working with them.”
The association is especially good for competitive seniors. In even years there are the 55 plus games.
“There were 646 seniors from across Saskatchewan that participated... Nationals were in Nova Scotia, and 130 Saskatchewan seniors went down there. Pretty good representation, when you go down east like that it’s a major event, because it costs some money, you have to have time, and you have to have the physical ability to go down there and to compete.”
Weiman encourages people to get membership in the organization, which is $7. For that, they get regular emails about events happening in the district, whether that’s in Yorkton itself of the many communities that surround it.
For more information on the SSFA, call Weiman at (306) 548-2266.
“Don’t be shy, give me a call.”