Michele Brown, 55, Lamar, Arkansas
As a physical education teacher, 55 year old Michele Brown loves to be a role model for fitness. “Everyone who knows me says I am one of the most active and competitive people they know,” says the lifelong resident of Lamar, Arkansas. “When I found out about Senior Games, I couldn’t wait until I reached the age to enter so I could compete with others my age.”
Michele has excelled, setting Arkansas Senior Olympics records in five disciplines and winning a Silver Medal in the Long Jump in Houston at the 2011 National Senior Games Presented by Humana. In that same year she was awarded the Arkansas Governor’s Council Leadership in Fitness Award and was named the state’s Fuel up to Play 60 Program Advisor of the Year. She was also given the honor of carrying the Arkansas flag at the Celebration of Athletes for the 2013 Games in Cleveland, and brought home a Gold and two Silver medals from the five track and field events she entered.
However, there was a bump in the road that also taught Michele a lesson in 2012 when she passed out during a PE class on a 107 degree day. “I was dehydrated and my blood pressure was really high. They first thought it was my heart and put me on a monitor. But it was from being so active and not eating properly. I was burning the calories with my PE job, training for my track, bike riding and softball…it just all caught up with me.”
She later found that her heart was fine and it was insulin resistance. With proper diet she has brought her body under control, and it has provided her with a dramatic real life lesson to share. “As a physical education teacher, I always stressed to my students to continue to be active and eat healthy because it will make a difference as they age. I try to be a good role model for them, and being in Senior Games is a way that I can stay active and also show others what they can achieve if they strive to stay healthy.”
Michele is also a role model with her age peers, and she tells them they can always do something to improve their fitness. She also emphasizes that playing senior sports is not just for the elite. “There’s something at Senior Games for everyone. There are many options for people to stay active,” she says. “But make sure that you work up to it. Pick a sport that you’re really interested in and focus on that at first. Then if you enjoy that there may be other things you like doing. But don’t sit back and do nothing just because you think you can’t.”