As Newton’s first law of motion states, “An object in motion will stay in motion.” While this is normally applied in the field of science, it can also be applied to the human body; a person who is active will remain active. 90-year-old Betty Kostkowski, a Waltonwood Providence resident, is a shining example of this idea. Later this month, she will compete to qualify for the National Senior Games. She already has an impressive record from competing in past National Senior Games events—one gold medal, two silver medals and two bronze medals for single and doubles table tennis. This year, she’ll be competing in the local National Senior Games track and field games in the 100- and 200-meter dash. As Betty prepares to qualify for the National games, which will be held at AG Middle School (1800 Runnymede Lane in Charlotte) on April 23, she exercises daily and trains by walking, as well as attending group fitness and yoga classes at the senior living community. Kostkowski is a shining example of a senior who doesn’t let age determine her experience and dedication to inspiring others to choose a healthy lifestyle.
Kostkowski has been active all of her life, and grew up dancing. After she married, Kostkowski remained active by taking up golf and table tennis. Kostkowski first heard about the Senior Games when she was about 70 years old and participated in a table tennis competition with her husband and their friends. They traveled together to the national games in Houston, San Francisco and Louisville as a way to socialize and see the United States. After moving to Waltonwood Providence, she began competing in track and field to try something new and different.
“I’m convinced that exercise and diet are very important as you get older,” said Kostkowski. “It keeps the circulation going and your muscles moving so they don’t deteriorate. The more you use them, the more you’ll be able to use them. My mother lived to be 93, but began using a walker at about 80. I definitely think being active has contributed to my quality of life at 90 years old. I try to eat healthy and include a lot of vegetables, fruits and whole grains in my diet, which the dining team at Waltonwood already incorporates, so it is easy for me to do.”
87-year-old Waltonwood Providence resident Dick Bartlem is a friend of Kostkowski’s, and attended last year’s local qualifier to support Betty—along with other residents and staff. Bartlem plans to cheer her on again this year, and says it is important to him and the other residents to show their support during the event.
“It was very interesting to see her compete last year,” said Bartlem. “I try to keep myself motivated to exercise and be a healthy person, and Betty continually impresses me with her drive to stay active and train for these events. Even though I’m a few years younger than her, she can be hard to keep up with sometimes because she is always on the go and keeps moving.”
All Waltonwood senior living communities incorporate health and wellness activities and amenities into the residents’ daily lives. The residents utilize a specially-designed Forever Fit program, incorporating HUR fitness equipment, which is made in Europe just for seniors. The equipment uses air resistance to strengthen muscles, which research has shown to better help seniors
more with muscle balance, strength and power compared to traditional weight equipment.
“We are so excited to cheer on Betty later this month as she competes in this event,” said Leah Nash, associate executive director of Waltonwood Providence. “She is such an inspiration to all of us at Waltonwood Providence, and shows us that health and wellness are important parts of a person’s longevity and quality of life.”
The senior living community has long been a supporter of the National Senior Games, and hosted the local kick-off luncheon earlier this year to celebrate the beginning of the event. The community will also host a champion’s breakfast later this year.