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The Long Run - August 2015

Association News
Senior Games Pioneers Recognized at Celebration of Athletes
NSGA only gives out two service awards, and only bestows them once every two years. In 2015, pioneers of the Senior Games Movement from Maryland and Georgia were given due recognition at the 2015 National Senior Games presented by Humana. 
 
During the 2015 Celebration of Athletes sponsored by AstraZeneca Diabetes, Dr. Robert Ziegler of Baltimore, Maryland was honored onstage with the prestigious Warren Blaney Lifetime Achievement Award for state and national service.  The other 2015 NSGA honor was The Harris Frank Distinguished Service Award, which was presented to Vicki Pilgram, the founder of Georgia Golden Olympics.
 
NSGA is proud and grateful for the contributions of these groundbreakers. You can find details about each recipient in the complete media release that is posted at NSGA.com. 

NSGA, YMCA of the USA Join Forces for Awareness Partnership
Following months of discussion and a successful pilot program conducted in Maine, NSGA and the YMCA of the USA have agreed to work together to increase visibility and awareness about services and activities offered for seniors by each organization.
 
"We know that there are many people over 50 who would participate in Senior Games at the local, state and national level but are not aware of where they are held and how to get involved," NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker said. "The YMCA, while being a well-known entity, is seeking to overcome the erroneous perception that the 'Y' is only for children and families and is seeking to let seniors know they offer activities and classes for them. Working together, using our communication channels, will be a win-win partnership between us to expand awareness about what we both have to offer."
 
The YMCA of the USA will now encourage each of its state alliances (where individual YMCA's consult and coordinate on common programs and initiatives) to work with their state Senior Games or Senior Olympics to use each others' websites, newsletters, social media and other communications channels to promote their programs and potential incentives for senior athletes to use their local "Y" for exercise and conditioning. NSGA is asking each state coordinator to connect with their YMCA alliance to explore the possibilities.
 
"Each national organization is encouraging its members to get together at the state level and determine what works best for each situation," said NSGA Director of Athlete and Partner Relations Becky Sewell. "Each state partnership will look a little different and will progress at a different pace, but we are excited to see that the wheels are in motion."

Game On!
The Results are In - Minnesota Defends Home Turf! 
The Land of 10,000 Lakes hosted nearly 10,000 competitors for the2015 National Senior Games presented by Humana, and Minnesota's senior athletes were determined to mine gold (as well as silver and bronze) at The Games. They did not disappoint the host state by topping the medal count with 436 total medals earned, including 190 gold performances.
 
California (400), Florida (360), Texas (317) and Ohio (311) rounded out the top five state finishes. You can find the state medal list as well as all individual and team final results at NSGA.com under National Games-Records and Results.
2015 Games Daily News and Photo Gallery Are Archived for View
Want to savor the flavor of the 2015 National Senior Games presented by Humana? You can! The online 2015 Daily News online pages will continue to be available in the News and Events section at NSGA.com. Click on the icons to read each Daily page, and on the PHOTOS icon to revisit the spectacular 2015 Photo Gallery.
 
 

HUMANA Heroes: Athlete of the Month
Nieces and Nets
Vickie Campbell flanked by nieces Cathy Barr (left) and Linda Elhmann
Volleyball players, like those of any team sport, speak about the way their teams become like family. For Vickie Campbell of Hillsboro, Missouri, this took on a literal meaning when she fulfilled a dream to play in the 2015 National Senior Games presented by Humana with her two nieces. However, the desire to accomplish this was based on more than a whim.
 
"My sister-in-law Reda Pogue was who got me playing in leagues in St. Louis," the 62-year-old captain of the 55+ Cardnets explains. "When she started playing in Senior Games 20 years ago, I told her I was going to stay with it to play in those games too. Then I told her daughters, who also love volleyball, that one day we would all play together in the National Senior Games. I have a close relationship with them and we all wanted to do it."
 
When Pogue died in early 2014, Vickie was even more inspired to continue playing volleyball and to bring her nieces to Minnesota. One, 55-year-old Linda Ehlmann, had joined with Vickie to play in the 2013 Games in Cleveland. The other, 57-year-old Kathy Barr, lives in South Carolina, so it took some effort to put the pieces together.
 
Even after qualifying, the dream was threatened with two major obstacles thrown in Vickie's path. "In February I hyper extended my knee and tore a hamstring. I had to do some pretty hard rehabbing to get back in shape," she recalls. "Then, my house burned down in April. So with everything that happened, I was even more ready to have a little fun. And it was awesome!"  
 
While the 2015 Cardnets-which also included Janis Keys, Susan Stahr, Diane Crews, Catherine Landwehr and Linda Kernen-finished just short of the medal stand with a 4th place finish, spirits were not dampened. "We just fell apart when we got into the bronze division playoff. Linda Kernen, who is best in the middle for us, needed gall bladder surgery before the Games and couldn't go," Vickie notes. "We like winning, of course, but our main reward is the time we spend together. It's like a reunion, and we meet new friends too. I'll also say the team has given me so much support. I could have easily given up during these troubles without their constant encouragement
 
"This is my third National Senior Games, and I'll keep going as long as I can. You betcha!"
We're always looking for great athlete stories.  Submit yours or nominate a fellow athlete who inspires you at our Athlete of the Month page at NSGA.com!
 

Senior Health and Wellness
New Personal Best Athlete Profile - Tough Lady with a Soft Heart
This month, the 2015 Personal Best health and wellness initiative continues with the addition of another inspiring athlete profile. Sharon Huczek of Rochester, Michigan, is a self-made woman who has dedicated her life to improving herself and using what she has learned to help improve and encourage others. NSGA attended the Michigan Senior Olympics Celebration of Athletes Aug. 13 to recognize Sharon and share her story. Read her profile, and watch for a link to our tour blog recapping our visit in the next newsletter.
A Look at Bone Loss
Article courtesy of Humana
Bone loss, or Osteoporosis, can lead to devastating fractures in older adults. The odds of breaking a bone due to bone loss are pretty staggering. One in 2 women over the age of 50 will break a bone due to bone loss and for men, it's one in four. Let's look at some ways we can protect our bones from bone loss.
 
How can we tell if our bones are weak?
You can't feel bone loss. It's a disease that occurs slowly and most people don't realize they have bone loss until they have a fracture. The best way to determine bone loss is to have regular bone density exams after age 65 for women and 70 for men.  Some individuals may be at a higher risk, for example, if they have already had a fracture or have another disease that may increase their risk for osteoporosis. Women begin to lose 15% of their bone mass in the years after menopause. This reduction in bone density can lead to fractures ranging from minor to severe.
 
What plays a role in our risk?
Genetic makeup plays a small part in our risk for developing Osteoporosis. Lifestyle plays a much larger role in this disease, especially once we have reached the age of 65. At this point, the things we eat, the exercise we engage in and the choices we make are what will influence our risk of Osteoporosis. Choices like smoking and overindulging in alcohol can increase your risk of bone loss.
 
Exercise plays a huge role in maintaining bone mass. Strength training to maintain or gain muscle mass will help you retain your bone density. Having strong muscles not only decreases your risk of bone loss, it also decreases your risk of a fall due to frailty or loss of balance.  What type of exercise should we be doing to stave off bone loss?
  • Strength training 2-3 times per week.
  • Aerobic activity 30 minutes per day.
  • Balance training once per week.
Diet is another important factor. There is a lot of controversy over the amount of calcium and vitamin D that should be used to prevent or treat Osteoporosis. The main point is that we need calcium to keep our bones healthy, but not too much. Talk with your doctor to find your recommended amount of calcium. The same goes for Vitamin D. Several studies have found that using calcium and vitamin D together have lowered risk of fracture, but there is no hard and fast evidence that this is the case. It's always a good idea to talk with your doctor about your specific needs.
 

NSGA Online Merchandise Store
Relive Your Moments in Minnesota
Of course you bought a logo T-shirt at The Games, but now you want another one. Maybe a long sleeve T-Shirt or a pullover to wear in the fall. There's still official merchandise available bearing the image of the 2015 National Senior Games presented by Humana, and it's just a few clicks away to get that extra wearable souvenir on its way to you.
To see choices and order, visit The NSGA Official Store at NSGA.com.
 
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