The Shippen sisters have always been active, so it’s no surprise that a tiny little excuse like old age could prevent them from doing what they love – being together, exercising and winning. Led by their energetic older sister, Verla Ball, 91, the siblings competed at the Huntsman World Senior Games Wednesday and set a world record in the process. The age-defying women became the oldest relay team to ever finish the 4 x 100 meter relay.
While many of their generation are content to sit on the sidelines, smell the roses and contemplate their golden years, these sisters are hard at work pushing their bodies to go at an even faster clip.
The seasoned relay team consisted of Verla Ball from Idaho Falls,Idaho along with her sisters Ava Hessing, 85, from Boise,Idaho, Ruby Call, 83, from Tucson,AZ and Nelda Reed, 80, from Rigby,Idaho. The foursome decided to tackle the relay after one of their grandsons told them about it, and they thought it would be a fun thing to try.
So what’s their secret?
“We all exercise regularly, somewhere between three to five times a week,” said Ball, who has previously won six gold medals and four silver medals in the games. “Our mother taught us that exercise was good for the body. Staying active helps us feel alive and energetic. Exercise is in our genes.”
But the Shippen sisters credit more than exercise for their success. Healthy eating habits and good nutrition have also played a role in their vibrant lifestyle.
Verla and her sisters say they get an extra boost of energy from two sports nutrition products from Melaleuca, an Idaho-based wellness products company. They use the Access Bar, which converts a person’s stored fat cells into energy, and an electrolyte replacement drink named Sustain Sport that re-hydrates them after exercise. The products have worked so well for them, in fact, they chose Melaleuca to sponsor their relay team.
“There’s a false notion out there that if you’re old, you can’t do these types of things,” said Frank VanderSloot, Melaleuca President and CEO. “Verla, Ava, Ruby and Nelda are wonderful role models. They inspire us to make exercise a part of our everyday lives and to be active. The truth is that everyone can improve their health. We just need to follow their example.”
The Huntsman World Senior Games is an international senior sports competition for men and women ages 55 and older. The games feature 22 sports ranging from Track & Field, Swimming and Volleyball to non-traditional sports like Cowboy Shoots, Lawn Bowls and Pickleball.
“Age is just a number,” said Verla Ball. “It certainly doesn’t have to stop any of us from reaching our goals or aspiring to new heights.”