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The Long Run - April 2019

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Mailing address: P.O. Box 5630, Clearwater FL 33758-5630
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Association News

Greater Fort Lauderdale Named 2021 Games Host

On March 19, Greater Fort Lauderdale was announced as host of the 2021 National Senior Games presented by Humana at a gathering of media and supporters at the Greater Fort Lauderdale and Broward County Convention Center.

At the event, it was also announced that the Florida Senior Games state games will be held in Greater Fort Lauderdale for 2019 and 2020, which has the advantage of giving experience to both athletes and organizers working with many of the sport venues that will be utilized in 2021. Read our official media release in the News & Events section at NSGA.com.

2021 Host Media Release


Game On!

More Special Events than Ever in Albuquerque!

Get ready to have plenty to see and do when The Games come to New Mexico. In addition to all of the wonderful local attractions and cultural offerings, our hosts and NSGA have lined up more special events than we've typically held at The Games, and all are free to attend.

The Flame Arrival Ceremony will be held Saturday, June 15 at 7:00pm in the Civic Plaza next to the Albuquerque Convention Center and City Hall. In addition to welcome remarks, the torch arrival and cauldron lighting, the highly-acclaimed De Oro Productions will perform authentic New Mexico dance and song in a program titled "Noche de Fuego (Night of Fire)" that our hosts promise will leave the audience spellbound. Prepare to get "fired up!"

The Celebration of Athletes is all about you, the athletes! Here is where the pageantry happens, including a stirring Parade of Athletes and a warm welcome is extended by the host cities, celebrities and dignitaries. The event will be held Wednesday, June 19 at 7:00pm in the University of New Mexico's Dreamstyle Arena - also famously known as "The Pit" to basketball fans.

In addition to these two traditional ceremonial events, there will be others offered to both athletes and the residents of Albuquerque at no cost:

  • Indian Day - The sights, sounds and smells of American Indian culture will be on full display on Monday, June 17 at the Villa Ernesto Ramos: The Village Health and Wellness Expo in the convention center. There will be song, dance, drums, and food demonstrations during the day, as well as a live airing of the Native America Calling public radio program. Produced through NSGA's partnership with the National Indian Council on Aging.
  • Launch Pad to What's Next LIVE - NSGA is pleased to partner with Growing Bolder, a leading multimedia voice for positive aging, to bring their high-powered, informative and entertaining road show to the historic KiMo Theater a few blocks from the convention center on Tuesday, June 18 from 6:00pm - 7:30pm. GB founder Marc Middleton will explore every aspect of enhancing life assisted by live guests including legendary Olympic swimming Gold Medalist Rowdy Gaines, best-selling author Dr. Roger Landry, journalist and long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad and more to be announced.
  • Olympic Day - Every June, communities host Olympic Day events to promote fitness and Olympic ideals. On Thursday, June 20 in the Albuquerque Convention Center, New Mexico Olympians will interact with an inter-generational audience to share their personal stories and Olympic values such as fair play, perseverance, respect and sportsmanship.

Watch for more details on these and even more activities when The Games draw near!

2019 National Senior Games Special Events Page


Social Media: Celebrate Your #RealSeniorMoments

Lately we have been telling you about hashtags, where the # sign turns any #word or #streamofwords into a searchable link. This allows all posts using the same hashtag to be collected, and when you click on the hashtag you will see other posts using that same tag.

Let's have some fun and challenge ageism by using our own hashtag phrase #RealSeniorMoments when we share photos, videos and messages about your National Senior Games experience. People of all ages have so-called "senior moments" and we can all challenge the bias by simply including the #RealSeniorMoments hashtag to our social media posts from now through The Games. NSGA will project #RealSeniorMoments posts for viewing in The Village and anyone can see all tagged posts in each social page they use.

Celebrate fitness, fun and fellowship on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by adding #RealSeniorMoments to your memories!


What's Going On in Albuquerque? The Visitor's Guide has Answers

Get the trip planning tools and information you need to prepare for your trip to Albuquerque. Check out Visit Albuquerque's digital guide or request a complimentary copy of the Official Albuquerque Visitors Guide to explore attractions, experience events, find restaurants and places to stay, and much more in Albuquerque.

Official Albuquerque Visitors Guide


Scholarships Announced for "A Hand Up From Humana"

NSGA, in partnership with Humana and CBS EcoMedia, is pleased to announce the ten athletes who have been selected to receive scholarships to attend the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana who would have otherwise been unable to due to life-changing situations and financial challenges.

There were many nominations from each of our five regions of athletes who all deserve a "hand up" to attend. Two were selected from each NSGA region:

  • Northeast - Charlotte Marden (MA), Christopher Mizner (ME)
  • Southeast - Tim Jenkins (KY), Yvette Matthews (NC)
  • Great Lakes - Becky Redmond-Walker (WI), Leonard Reimer (WI)
  • West - Kory Kelly (TX), Simeon Gipson (OK)
  • Pacific - Lee-Ann Skomski (NV), Patrick Thomas-Pittman (CA)

NSGA thanks our Presenting Sponsor Humana for their support of The Games and our great athletes!


April Athlete of the Month

Chama the Charmer

Debbie Klecan is a multi-talented person - masters swimmer, photographer, illustrator, art teacher and expert dog trainer are among her passions. Her best attribute, however, is how she has met extreme physical challenges brought by a horrific car accident 18 years ago with a smile and more determination to live life to the fullest.

"I'm a different swimmer after the accident - I have metal in every joint below the waist and have hip and knee replacements. I'm not going to break any records," the 64-year-old says. "I do my swimming now to stay out of a wheelchair."

Debbie, whose disability forced her to retire as a professor and cancer researcher at the University of New Mexico, barely made it into the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana. Her knee flared up the week before her qualifying swim at the 2018 New Mexico Senior Olympics. "It was heart breaking to train so hard and have that happen like Murphy's Law. It could have hit me a week after, but nooo," she says with a laugh. She hobbled on crutches to get to the pool but managed to complete a 50-yard freestyle on the last day to get into The Games.

But this story is really about a girl and her dog, a pure-bred Australian Cattle Dog named Chama. "All our dogs have been named after towns, and Chama is a town in northern New Mexico where we adopted her," she explains. Despite the fact that the puppy was deaf, they took a chance on her. "She is so smart and sweet-she's the best dog we've ever had."

Debbie trained Chama well, and has used her as a model for photo shoots and for a UNM continuing education class focused on drawing cats and dogs. "From day one she's known how to model. She can hold a pose for two minutes because she's not as distracted by sound." Chama has been the subject for several themed photo series Debbie has shared on social media - so many, in fact, that the nine-year-old now has her own Instagram account. In 2018, Debbie and her High Point masters swim club friends were so excited about National Senior Games coming to Albuquerque that she produced a series of sport-related pooch poses that she posted on the New Mexico Senior Olympics Facebook page. Some made their way to the National Senior Games page. The whimsical series was a big hit with many likes and shares. Chama soon became recognized at several of the state games venues and has become an unofficial mascot for her swim team.

"This was so much fun! Many were done in my studio, but some were done at the sport venue," the resident of Edgewood near Albuquerque says. "Several athletes helped educate me to set up the photo shoots. I've learned so much about the different sports by doing this."

Editor Note: See more Chama poses on NSGA's archived web version of this story, and also on the Chamadogmodel page on Instagram. We want to hear more great stories! To submit yours, or to nominate a fellow athlete who inspires you, Please Click Here.


Senior Health and Wellness

Eat Well to Compete Well!

There is no nutrition magic or secrets for better sports performance. However, keeping nutrition basics in mind will allow you to sustain your best performance at the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana. In the following question and answer exchange, Marlyne Walker RD, Registered Dietitian and Clemson University extension agent shares nutrition basics for seniors who are engaged in Seniors Games sports: Q: With the 2019 Games being in the summer and at a higher altitude, what are some tips regarding hydration for Senior Games athletes?
A: Water regulates body temperature, carries nutrients, and removes waste, and cushions joints, organs & tissues. Your body's ability to conserve water lessens with age. Seniors are less able to respond to changes in temperature. Do not wait until you are thirsty to start drinking water and pay attention to signs of proper hydration. A key sign of proper hydration is the color of urine, which should be clear or a pale yellow. Caffeinated beverages have a diuretic effect and can cause the kidneys to excrete water. In high altitude, it is important to have a habit of balanced hydration:

  • Drink water when you wake up, at each meal, and between meals.
  • Choose hydrating snacks, such as fruits and vegetables.
  • Check out the information flyer "Altitude & You" which is posted on each sport page.

Q: It is recommended that we make half our plate fruits and vegetables, what is the benefit?
A: They are important sources of water in our diet helping us to maintain our hydration balance and sustain energy levels. The CDC reports only one out of ten adults eats the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables. Choose fresh whole fruit, or frozen, dried, or canned fruit in 100% juice. Eat a rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables.

Q: What are some tips for sustaining our energy levels?
A:Focus on complex carbohydrates(carbs) for energy and make half of your grains whole grains. Sustain your energy levels by choosing whole-grain bread, crackers, cereal, pasta and potatoes, fruits and vegetables.

Q: Keeping food safety in mind at sports events is often overlooked, how do we eat with food safety in mind?
A: Perishable foods (such as cheese, yogurt, meat, eggs, and salads with mayonnaise) should not be left unrefrigerated for more than two hours, or more than one hour if it is over 90°F outside. Do not wait to refrigerate, use a cooler with ice packs or frozen water bottles.

Q: What is a good tool to guide me in healthy eating?
A: Use choosemyplate, USDA food guide, as a tool to focus on the five food groups-fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy to ensure you get all the nutrients you need. Everything you eat or drink matters. My Plate, My Wins helps you create your own healthy eating goals and solutions through choices that support your culture and preferences. Starting with small steps and celebrating milestones along the way are helpful strategies in achieving goals and maintaining changes not only for the Senior Games, but also for a lifetime.

In summary, a recipe to help senior athletes succeed on game day involves maintaining hydration, a balanced diet with colorful fruits and vegetables, eating from all five-food groups and keeping food safety in mind.

-Andrew Walker MPH, NSGA Director of Health & Wellness


Sleeping Habits can Affect Balance and Falls People fall at all ages. The better your balance is, the more likely that a fall is caused by unexpected circumstances (water on a marble floor while on holiday, taking a corner too fast on a bike), or something else crashing into you (fellow players, runaway dogs).

But how hard we fall, and the consequences, do change with time. The truth is, we all need a little nudge to check the factors that make an unwanted wobble more likely.

Scientific literature identifies 21 risk factors for falls - across all populations. Some are difficult to monitor or only applicable to certain subsets of people. At Zibrio, we've narrowed our focus to six major factors which have the biggest impact and are mainly modifiable by our habits.

For example, how well do you sleep? Not only is sleep vital for muscle repair and growth in training, but a recent study at the University of Warwick in the UK demonstrated how lack of sleep affects your balance. Even one night's disrupted sleep significantly reduced the participants' ability to balance the next day.

It's something to bear in mind when you're travelling to The Games this summer if you're susceptible to time change, as it can affect your performance as well as your balance.

And though good sleep is so important, think twice before reaching for sleep aids (over-the-counter or prescription). Most sleep aids have a negative effect on balance. Even if you've used one for some time, our kidneys process drugs differently as we age, and can interact badly with any other medications you might need to take. This is definitely a discussion you want to have with your doctor.

If you are struggling to sleep, there are non-drug approaches that are worth trying. From sleep hygiene like cool temperatures, darkness, and avoiding screens before bedtime, there are also a number of sleep-promoting meditations that can be accessed through free apps like Insight or Calm, which can help you drift off, or get back to sleep if woken during the night. Popping that pill is not the only option.

The Zibrio Balance Coach app is available free for smartphones at the Apple App Store and Google Play. Download it to get an insight into health habits that help or hurt your balance by simply answering the questions. Results are displayed in a traffic light format: red for danger, green for great. How many pieces can you get in the green zone?

Zibrio, the balance company, is a Premier Sponsor for the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana. They will be in The Village near the SAFE screening area to help you better understand your balance.


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