The Long Run - May 2014
Celebrate Older Americans Month 2014
New NSGA Spotlight Video Debuts
Visitors to NSGA.com can now view a brief "spotlight video" that explains NSGA's health and wellness mission and promotes the unique status of the National Senior Games as the largest multi-sport event for people 50+ in the world. The video was made possible with cooperation of our Presenting Sponsor Humana, who shared footage of competition and athlete interviews gathered for their successful "Humana Game Changers" media initiative conducted for the 2013 National Senior Games Presented by Humana.
"Since the athletes are really the heart and soul of The Games, we always prefer to have them express what it's all about in their own words whenever possible," NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker said. In addition to comments by Riker, the nearly three minute video also features senior athletes DeEtte Sauer, John Day, Wayne Peacock, Flo Meiler, Ethel Lehmann and Mario Alvarez.
Riker noted that the video will also be a valuable resource to use for speaking engagements and other public opportunities. In addition, a 30 second public service announcement and additional background or "b roll" video was also produced and distributed to each of our Member State Organizations to help promote the Senior Games Movement and state games during the next year.
NSGA Welcomes Quebec Games
NSGA is pleased to welcome a new member -The FADOQ Games in Canada's Quebec Province!
FADOQ Executive Director Danis Prudhomme attended our Annual Conference last month to witness the unanimous vote approving their addition to our Senior Games family. "We are thrilled to be part of a dynamic organization like NSGA," he said. " The opportunity for athletes to represent Quebec at the National Senior Games is a great development. It will also be refreshing to compare our ways of doing things with an organization of this level and to improve ourselves. We are looking forward to a long future of collaboration."
FADOQ (Federation for Aging in Dignity and Overall Quality) annually hosts local senior games around the province involving more than 15,000 competitors in more than 20 sports. Activity culminates with province finals, which will be held this year inVictoriaville, Quebec from September 16-18. While U.S. athletes will not be able to participate until 2015, Canadians can qualify this year for the 2015 National Senior Games Presented by Humana in Minnesota. For more information, visit www.fadoq.ca.
Demo Sports for 2015: Baseball, Disc Golf and Judo
As previously reported. Judo was voted into the 2015 National Senior Games Presented by Humana as a demonstration sport through a national campaign hosted by Post Shredded Wheat and NSGA earlier this year. We are pleased to announce that baseball and disc golf will also be offered as demonstration sports for The Games in Minnesota being hosted by Bloomington, Minneapolis and St. Paul.
"Minnesota is proud to have disc golf, baseball and judo as our demonstration sports," said 2015 National Senior Games Executive Director Beth Pinkney. "Disc golf is a great sport as it promotes throwing strength and requires internal strategic planning on how to play the game. Senior baseball is exciting as we have a robust number of teams that play in leagues in Minnesota and throughout the country."
Watch for more details about schedule and venues to be shared in the 2015 Games section of our website in coming months.
Upcoming State Qualifying Games
Get ready to compete in your state qualifying games to punch your ticket to Minnesota! June games are taking place in AL, CA, CO, IA, MA, ME, MO, MT, NY, OH, OR, RI, TN, VT and WV, plus the National Veterans Golden Age Games. Right around the corner are July's games in ME, NM, PA, VT, WA and WY. Visit our State Registration page to search for specific information and registration deadlines and links for the state(s) you are interested in.
HUMANA Heroes: Athlete of the Month
School Is Never Out on Fitness
When D. Paul Miller talks about the importance of exercise and shares his routine, he can't help if it sounds like he is lecturing. That's because he is a retired professor of sociology and anthropology from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, just a few miles from his home in Normal. However, the fact that he is still active at 96 and possesses a raft of competition medals and records is evidence enough that Paul knows what he is talking about.
Athletics has been as much of a companion as academics for most of his life, and Paul has been competing in cycling and track and field with Illinois Senior Olympics since 1982. "I haven't missed a year except one when I had a leg in a cast with a broken patella, having slipped on an icy rock climbing Long's Peak in Colorado." Paul holds 16 all-time records in Illinois and his name appears in three National Senior Games Top Ten lists. Since beginning national competition in 1999 he has bagged 14 Gold, 5 Silver and 3 Bronze Medals in six trips. He was the oldest cycling competitor last year for the 2013 National Senior Games Presented by Humana in Cleveland.
Success did not come without a learning process as he did not place in any events in his first tries. "I was disappointed and extremely envious of winners walking around with beautiful medals around their necks," he recalls. "Needless to say, after that I conditioned properly and began winning."
Paul became a student of his own well being and took a serious interest in diet and exercise. After reading and research, he became a strict vegetarian and set an exercise regimen for five days a week. "I have continued much the same program of diet and exercise to the present time. I get in two hours at the Illinois Wesleyan University fitness center from 5:00 to 7:00 AM, come home eat a big breakfast of oatmeal, toast and orange juice, and I'm ready to start my day at 8:00 in the morning."
He also emphases the importance of socializing and making friends along the way. "It helps to break the monotony of repeating activities day after day. It takes commitment, conviction, and real discipline to continue such a program year after year, but I remain convinced of its value. I plan to continue as long as I am physically able."
The fire still burns strong and D. Paul Miller continues to set his goals. "I'm a competitor, but I don't face as much now because the age ranks are thinning out as I progress. I now work on my times and my distance. The most serious competition becomes survival. I'm looking forward to competing in Minnesota in 2015. I especially like the friendships I've made. You run into a lot of good people doing this."
We're always looking for great athlete stories. Submit yours and read more athlete stories on our Athlete of the Month page at NSGA.com!
Senior Health and Wellness
Ongoing Research Confirming Senior Athletes Out Perform Age Peers
At last month's Annual Conference Dr. Becca Jordre, a physical therapist and researcher at the University of South Dakota, gave an update on ongoing research she is conducting with NSGA. The research involves performing fitness screens on NSGA athletes at the state and national level. To date, more than 1,000 senior athletes have performed the screen, with nearly 700 participating in Cleveland in 2013.
According to Jordre, the results thus far have shown that senior athletes, in every sport, are out performing their non-competing peers. One measure they perform, the Five Times Sit to Stand Test, has been proven to predict a decline in mobility in typical older adults. "Senior athletes tested on this measure performed so well it required us to set a new normal just for them, " Jordre said. Click here for expanded information on this test.
She added this seems to be a trend on many items in the screen. "The feedback given on the screen uses what is known of typical older adults, though we are beginning to have enough data to compare senior athletes to other senior athletes, which will be much more helpful in gauging fitness and guiding injury prevention in this population."
The report also revealed development of a new test to predict falling. Athletes who could stand on one foot on an unsteady foam square for more than 15 seconds were found to be significantly less likely to experience a fall than those who could not. "This test is typically too difficult for older adults in the community, so the foam was required to challenge senior athletes," Jordre explained. Other updates included addition of a new screen for posture and improved accuracy at predicting cardiovascular disease risk.
Jordre reported that the impact of exercise on aging appears to create exponential health benefits that she hopes will motivate others to "get in the game." Her plan this year is to begin expanding the screen with state games. So far they have conducted the screen at state games in SD, MN and NE but hope to add more states this year. She will continue to offer the screen at the 2015 National Senior Games Presented by Humana next year in Minnesota.
Athletes who participated in the screen in Cleveland can get more details about their results by e-mailing Dr. Jordre at[email protected].
NSGA Online Merchandise Store
Last Chance to Buy 2013 Branded Gear at NSGA Store
If you have been waiting to get that shirt or hat with the incredibly cool guitar/torch logo from the 2013 Games in Cleveland, NOW is the time to get yours. The online NSGA store will not offer 2013 merchandise after June 14, 2014. After this date, the new 2015 logo and NSGA graphics will be made available.
When you compete at your qualifying games let everyone know you are a National Senior Games athlete with high quality OFFICIAL MERCHANDISE in your choice of color that you can customize with your choice of NSGA graphics.
Visit The NSGA Store at NSGA.com to get yours.