Personal Best Class of 2020 Debuts with “Mr.” Impossible
Since 2013, the Personal Best health and wellness initiative has featured senior athletes who exhibit the attitude and habits of healthy aging as they navigate through the obstacles and challenges of life. Many have attracted national media attention, which has helped to raise awareness about the Senior Games Movement.
Andy Steinfeldt, the smiling guy you see here, is the first of several National Senior Games athletes who will make up the “Class of 2020” athlete features coming this year. Andy earned international attention in 2019 by holding an abdominal plank position for more than 38 minutes. Not bad for a 71-year-old guy who was told he couldn’t do it after several surgical procedures and who is still fighting prostate cancer.
Check out Andy’s story and you will understand why we have dubbed him “Mr. Impossible.” The publicity stunt has a purpose- Andy’s message is that if he can do what he has done despite his challenges, then all aging adults can do more to be fit and better able to face the challenges that come along. Even if they appear impossible to overcome.
More 2019 Accolades
Congratulations to Anthony Romero for receiving the prestigious Meeting Professional of the Year award at the recent Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA) annual conference in Denver. Anthony was recognized for his work helping lead the local host organization for the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana in Albuquerque last June.
“I am very mindful that so many hands went in to helping to make this a special event for the inspiring athletes. I will use this award as a reminder of the power of teamwork and the importance of asking others for help when you experience challenges,” he commented.
Happy Qualifying Year! Learn the Basics
The qualifying year is here! The National Senior Games is the largest qualified multisport event in the world, and our system of 53 NSGA Members who host qualifying events all over the country are an important part of the process. They also serve their regional communities and help spread our advocacy of healthy, active lifestyles to all aging adults.
Qualifying rules may vary depending on your sport(s). We recommend you follow the link below for general information, further links to rules, qualifying games details and dates under State Information. You should also use your individual Sport Page for more details as we approach 2021.
Most states have published 2020 qualifying event dates. Please check back for updates on games still being finalized.
Welcome Back Ageility by Five Star Senior Living
At the National Senior Games Association we believe that age is no barrier to performance and athletic achievement. With Ageility by Five Star Senior Living, one of the nation’s leading providers of physical therapy and performance training services, joining our sponsor family, we have a partner who shares our commitment to inspire older adults to enjoy the remarkable benefits of more active lives.
We will have more news about our partners next month but are looking forward to working closely with the Ageility by Five Star team in 2020 and beyond, on our shared mission to help adults unlock their untapped potential to go further, faster and to achieve more at any age. In the meantime, we wanted to share this video which provides their perspective of what this is all about.
January Athlete of the Month
The Boomer Widow and the Olympic Hopeful
Life challenges can sometimes cause people to give up on goals and dreams, but Madonna Hanna was determined to not let that happen when her husband Steven passed away in late 2018. A widow’s search for a new track coach led to an unusual collaboration that turned a storyteller into a sprinter, and turned an exceptional world class sprinter into a better storyteller.
Madonna, 66, who never competed in youth sports and played tennis recreationally as an adult, had “a whim” in 2011 to run 100 meters in the Washington State Senior Games. Steven, who had been a multisport athlete in his school days, offered his track experience to prepare a training program for his wife. “I was surprised to win both the 100 and 50 events,” she says. “I was competing with some women who have been doing this since high school.”
Buoyed by the success, Madonna put her new avocation into overdrive, and in 2013 she earned a bronze medal in the 4×100 relay at the National Senior Games in Cleveland. “I had never done a relay, and I was matched up with all these experienced ladies,” she recalls. “In 15 minutes I was taught how to hold the baton and make the exchange!”
A major setback came with a ruptured Achilles tendon during her first race in the 2014 Washington Games. “I heard what I thought was the starter’s gun going off again when it happened,” she says. “Everything went dark, and the next thing I knew I was laying on a table with a big bag of ice on my leg. But, as it turned out, I fell over the line and finished second!”
This and other setbacks kept her from competing until 2017, when Madonna scored gold medals in her state races. But, there was a new challenge as Steven was diagnosed with cancer. After three bouts with the disease, he passed away in November of 2018. “He wanted me to continue, and to wear red, white and blue at the 2019 Senior Games,” she says. “I knew I couldn’t do this by myself, so I needed a coach.”
Enter 25-year-old Marcus Chambers, an elite track athlete with All American honors and champion wins with the University of Oregon, and who is currently training to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. The two were introduced by the owner of the physical rehabilitation center where Madonna had nursed her injuries and Marcus later used to fine-tune his body. “He was volunteering some of his time to help coach other young athletes and was intrigued about helping an older athlete.”
Marcus started coaching Madonna four months before the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana. “At first, he had me doing all of these drills that my husband didn’t make me do. I thought, ‘Why can’t I just run?’ but then after I finished my next race I felt like I could run it again right away and realized, ‘Oh, that’s why you train like that!’”
While her coach was not able to come to Albuquerque and she did not medal, his impact was significant. “He helped to take a lot of time off and to win two silver medals in my state games,” she says.
With experienced in retail and marketing for a national women’s apparel manufacturer and 32 years as a fashion marketing teacher, Madonna found a way to be a coach for Marcus. “Athletes like him need to build a personal brand. With my background, I was able to offer a marketing plan that actually takes him through the next two decades of his life.”
Madonna, a polished public speaker who is a past Toastmasters International Speech Contest semifinalist, has also been coaching Marcus to become a better motivational speaker. “He wants to be the best-spoken USA competitor at the 2020 Olympics,” she says. “It was his turn to practice, practice, practice!”
“It turned out that we needed each other to achieve our personal goals,” she observes. “Steven was very concerned about me being healthy and fit. And this is what Marcus is doing for me too. And he’s learned it’s never too late to participate in a sport.”
She concludes sharing her favorite expression: “Just because you are older doesn’t mean you don’t have a future!”
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
It’s Never Too Late to Get in the Best Shape of Your Life
The following article is one of many being provided by the Ageility Team on a new page in the Health and Wellness section of NSGA.com. Ageility by Five Star Senior Living are sponsors of the 2021 National Senior Games presented by Humana.
Adults who want to adopt a more physically active lifestyle often start with some form of fitness program. That’s a great idea, but it’s important to approach things in a thoughtful manner, especially in the beginning. We always recommend carefully considering what your individual fitness goals are as a first step since exercise programs should be designed to target the areas each person wants to see the biggest improvement, such as mobility, strength, balance, flexibility, or endurance. It’s always a good idea to work with an expert trainer or therapist, but here are a few important factors to consider as you set out on your personal fitness journey.
Which Exercises Should I do?
There are hundreds of different ways to work out and dozens of specific exercises that are probably appropriate for your age, physical condition and individual goals. Generally, exercises are either multi-joint or single-joint. Multi-joint exercises involve more than one joint such as the squat that requires the hip, knee, and ankle joint to work synchronously in the execution of the movement. Single joint exercises involve only one joint such as a leg extension that only exercises the knee. Both types are important in a well rounded fitness program, but there may be situations when a multi-joint exercise is more suitable and vice versa.
When and How?
Generally we recommend that you start with large muscle multi-joint exercises first and then move onto small muscle single-joint exercises. This is because of the greater physical demand, complexity, and skill needed to complete multi-joint exercises when compared to single-joint exercises.
Older athletes will benefit from starting with higher demand exercises to ensure they have the energy to complete the exercise with proper technique. There are instances where single-joint exercises that are simple in nature may come first such as in a warm-up to prepare the muscles for the higher demand exercises.
How Much To Do.
The number of sets performed often varies for each exercise and is one of the factors, along with number of reps and resistance, affecting the volume of exercise. A set is a cluster of repetitions done before a period of rest or moving on to another exercise. Multiple sets have been shown by numerous studies to be superior to single sets. Older active adults beginning in an exercise program may need to begin with a single set in order to minimize fatigue. Over time, a progression may be to increase the number of sets with different exercises.
Rest and Recovery is the Key.
No matter how fit you are your body needs time to recover between exercise sessions. Anywhere from 24-72 hours to recover is normal, but age and fitness level can impact this. Older athletes generally need more recovery time between workouts and this needs to be factored when putting together an exercise program.
Rest periods during your work out are important as well. Depending on the intensity of your work out and your physically condition, we generally recommend a short break of 1 to five minutes between each set to allow your body to recover.
Intensity Isn’t Always Ideal.
It’s always tempting to stack on more weights or repetitions early, but it’s important not to over do things, especially when you are just starting out. Older athletes beginning an exercise program should start by using lighter resistances that allow for 10-15 repetitions. This helps to build local muscular strength-endurance and prepares muscles, tendons, and ligaments for heavier resistance as the individual progresses.
As you build strength and your body becomes accustomed to the exercises, you can increase resistance to a point that allows 6-8 repetitions. No matter what your age, it’s important to remember that increasing the intensity should always be a gradual process.
The First Steps Are the Most Important.
It’s always a good idea to get into better shape. For most of us it’s never too late to start a fitness journey. It can seem complicated at first, but the benefits can be incredibly rewarding and the simple guidelines we’ve outlined in this article will help get you started on the right path. Working with a certified trainer or therapist can take a lot of the guess work out of the process and can potentially help you avoid injuries, frustration and false paths.
At Ageility we are passionate about helping adults of all ages to unlock their physical potential and enjoy the benefits of a healthier and more active life. Ageility is an auxiliary company of Five Star Senior Living, a 2021 National Senior Games sponsor. Contact us to see how we can help craft a fitness program for your specific goals and personal needs.
By: The Ageility Team
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