The Post-Journal

97-Year-Old City Swimmer Is Inspiring

Judy Young, a lifelong swimmer, inspires her entire swim team. Growing up, she was always in the water, but it wasn’t until she was an adult that she started competitively swimming. After undergoing two surgeries last year, swimming helped with Judy’s recovery, and she hopes to inspire others with her dedication to maintaining an active lifestyle as you age. Since she started competing in 1987, Judy has set and broken several records, but this will be her first year competing at the National Senior Games.

Judy is one of more than 11,000 athletes competing in the 2023 National Senior Games – the world’s largest multi-sport event for seniors – in Pittsburgh from July 7-18. Judy also has been chosen as a Humana Game Changer, a national recognition of outstanding athletes who exemplify active aging and provide encouragement, motivation and inspiration for people of all ages to pursue lifelong health.

Judy’s passion for swimming is proof age isn’t an obstacle to engaging in activities that bring joy and promote well-being. While not everyone has a desire to compete, I think Judy can inspire us all to change the game for active aging and challenge society’s expectations of what it means to be a senior.

It’s a fact, staying active can help prevent or delay many common health problems as we age.

Here are just a few ways physical activity plays a vital role in health:

Brain health: Physical activity sharpens thinking skills and can lower the risk of anxiety and depression. It helps you sleep better, too!

Disease risk: Staying active helps reduce a whole host of ailments, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and arthritis pain, and helps reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and several types of cancer.

Stronger bones and muscles: With healthy muscles and bones, you reduce the risk of falls and are more likely to keep up with your grandkids longer and check off more adventures on your bucket list.

For adults aged 65 and older, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity activity per week, activities that help improve balance, and at least two days per week of strength training, which can be done at home, like with this simple soup can workout.

We are seeing a generation of seniors who aren’t just aging, they are living active and vibrant lives.

I know I am personally inspired by Judy as one of just 28 Game Changers Humana is recognizing and celebrating nationwide this year. As she has clearly demonstrated, being a senior can be about leveling up, not settling down.

Good luck to Judy and all the athletes from New York heading to compete at the Games!

Julie Mascari is the Medicare President at Humana in New York.

The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.
We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.