Remembering Harris Frank
The Senior Games Movement celebrates the life of Harris Frank, who left us recently at the age of 95 in his beloved hometown of St. Louis. Harris is a co-founder of The Games, and he lived a full life marked by major accomplishments that made him a recognized pillar of his community.
In 1985 in St. Louis, MO, a group of seven men and women formed the original leadership for what was initially known as the National Senior Olympics Organization (NSOO). The vision: to promote healthy lifestyles for adults through education, fitness and sport. Ken Marshal and Harris Frank were the driving forces to bring it to reality, hosting the first Games in 1987 in St. Louis. In 1991, Harris pushed to have Triathlon added to our sports, and he competed in the first competition. “Harris never approached things halfway,” NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker said. “He had a way of analyzing situations and guiding people to solutions, and he did it in a way that empowered others.”
We were honored to have Harris attend the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana in Albuquerque. He expressed how proud he was to see what the National Senior Games has become. He also spoke at the Celebration of Athletes, and you can see and hear him in the 2019 NSG Recap Video. On our 30th Anniversary in 2017, Harris was recognized as one of the “30 Champions of the Games” who made outstanding contributions to create, promote and help grow The Senior Games Movement.
All of us owe Harris Frank a debt of gratitude, and we will miss him.
Harris Frank Obituary
NSGA Annual Conference Goes Virtual
The pandemic has brought unprecedented disruption to NSGA and its Member Organizations. In addition to many competition cancellations and the resulting need to devise a fair 2020 qualifying process, NSGA’s operations and planning timelines have been challenged, including postponing our Annual Conference from the spring to October and November.
Due to travel restrictions and uncertainties, a physical meeting was not possible early in the year, so a virtual conference option was chosen. Instead of keeping the traditional three-day conference agenda, educational sessions and business meeting Zoom calls were spread out through October, culminating with the five-hour Annual Meeting of the Association by teleconference on November 5.
“It was a lot more work to break the conference into 15 individual Zoom meetings, but it was best to allow more flexibility and not require our attendees to clear whole days as if it was a business trip,” said NSGA Director of Association Relations Becky Sewell. “It took longer to tabulate votes, but all in all, it went well with minimal technical glitches. The Members appreciated the flexibility.”
The Annual Conference included educational sessions, committee meetings, NSGA Board of Directors meetings and the closing Association Meeting where members vote on matters and elect new Board members. There was even a virtual “social hour” call with trivia questions and fun chat among staff and members.
In Board elections, incumbent members re-elected were Jack Shinnock of Ohio, Kate Fiskin of Maryland and Carla Ruff with the Veterans Golden Age Games. New Board Members elected were DJ Mackovets of Alabama, Katie Potter of Massachusetts, Christine Dewbre of Tennessee, and Harold Vealey of West Virginia.
The board also elected Jack Shinnock as Board Chair and Carla Ruff as Board Vice Chair. Additionally, the board also recognized the retiring chair Kate Amack of Colorado for her tireless leadership. Big cheers for all of the dedicated people who make Senior Games happen!
Greater Fort Lauderdale’s Beaches Balance Nature and People
There are many attractions in Greater Fort Lauderdale, but the legendary beaches are usually first on the visitor list. The area boasts 23 miles of sandy shores, and each beach has its own personality. Whether it’s busy Fort Lauderdale beach or one of the less crowded strips, there’s a perfect beach mode for everyone.
Check out this Top Ten beach list with tips from USA Today as you look forward to the 2021 National Senior Games presented by Humana.
Remember NSGA on Giving Tuesday
Since 2011, Giving Tuesday has been promoted as an international day of charitable giving to nonprofit causes. Held on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, it’s a reminder to help others at the beginning of the Christmas and holiday season.
NSGA humbly asks that you keep us in mind as you plan your end of year giving. All donations are fully tax deductible and will help us through this pandemic and advance NSGA’s mission to promote health and wellness to older adults.
Find more information about donations and planned giving at the link below. Thank you! #GivingTuesday
November Athlete of the Month
The Journey is as Important as Michael Brown’s Record
At the age of 50, Michael Brown achieved something that athletes of any age yearn for – a record. The former Jacksonville, Florida high school teacher and track and field coach threw his javelin a whopping 226 feet at the 2004 Florida Senior Games, and then repeated the same distance at the 2005 National Senior Games in Pittsburgh. No senior athlete has made a javelin throw over 200 feet, in either event, since.
Michael also holds the Masters Track and Field World Record in the 55-59 age group with a throw of 216 feet 10 inches, established in 2010. No one is more surprised with his lasting records, but the true tale of the tape for Michael is measured in years, not yards. “My comeback and the journey since is every bit as important,” he proclaims.
Following his 2010 performance, Michael went surfing and experienced pain in his throwing shoulder. An MRI led to three shoulder surgeries, a rotator cuff surgery, and finally a nerve transfer surgery from his elbow to shoulder. “The first surgery didn’t go well, and neither did the second,” he says. “Looking back, I wish I would have just done rehab. I took a chance and it didn’t work.”
His doctors said he would never throw again, and he briefly thought about hanging it up. Instead, Michael decided to prove them wrong, going to the gym three to four days a week and doing rehab every day without fail for almost three years. “It hurt just to hold onto the pullup bar, but after six months it stopped hurting,” he explains. “After another six months I could do half a pullup. After three years, I got to where I could do one solid pullup. It’s been six years since then, and now I can do three sets of 20 good pullups.”
Michael didn’t pick up a javelin for five years, and he recalls some friends were questioning his sanity about making a comeback. “But I kept dreaming about throwing at night, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind,” Michaels says. “As long as I was going to dream about it, I decided I needed to give it an effort. When you’ve got a burning sensation to do something, you might as well do it.”
The hard work paid off when he returned to the 2018 Florida Senior Games and proved best in the 65-69 age group. At the 2019 National Senior Games in Albuquerque, Michael won the gold medal with a throw of 150 feet, 8 inches, 13 feet further than the silver medalist.
Beyond his redemptive performance, the comeback journey reinforced Michael’s pure love of enjoying sports with others. “There’s just something about the camaraderie of the Games and the people,” he says. “Sure, I can go fishing or play golf, but it doesn’t get the juices flowing like being at a meet.”
The easy-going thrower enjoys seeing people of all abilities in Senior Games. “You don’t have to perform at a certain level to start in local games,” he advises. “Don’t be embarrassed, just try and you’re part of the fraternity. Who knows, maybe you do get good at something.”
After a moment, Michael concludes, “Besides, to be the best fan, you have to be an athlete. That way, you get to see everything!”
We’d like to hear about you or an interesting athlete you admire-it just might be selected for a story! To submit yours, or to nominate another, Please Click Here.
Senior Health and Wellness
High Step Numbers Lead to Longevity, Better Health
NSGA finds that recent virtual step and physical activity challenges are “in step” with a National Institutes of Aging (NIA) and National Cancer Institute study of older adults showing that greater than 8000 steps per day is associated with increased longevity. The NIA study looked at a representative sample of U.S. adults aged 40 and over and found that compared with taking 4,000 steps per day, a number considered low for adults, taking 8,000 steps per day was associated with a 51% lower risk for all-cause mortality (or death from all causes).
Previous findings from Senior Athlete Fitness Exam (SAFE) research on Senior Games athletes are consistent with advice that all adults should move more and sit less throughout the day. For even greater health benefits, adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. The study found that Senior Game athletes reported significantly more than the recommended 150 minutes of suggested weekly physically activity. NIA researchers also found that higher step counts were associated with lower all-cause death rates among both men and women, among both younger and older adults, and among white, black, and Mexican American adults.
Because physical activity reduces a person’s risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers, an active lifestyle may be one of the best preventive actions we can take during COVID-19. Furthermore, physical activity is key to preventing and managing type 2 diabetes. (November is Diabetes Awareness month- go to November National Health Observances to learn more.)
In response to COVID-19, the NSGA Health & Wellness program pivoted to offer summer and fall virtual step challenges to Senior Games athletes, friends and families. Although there is a technology accessibility gap among older adults in the general population, nearly 400 Senior Games athletes signed up for NSGA’s summer “Step-Up-Your Game” challenge. An important finding of this challenge was 40 percent of the participants increased their average number of steps over the course of the month-long program. In addition, Step-Up-Your-Game participants averaged 18,400 steps per day.
The current “StepsTo2021 National Senior Games Challenge” ends on November 18, which corresponds with the closing of the upcoming 2021 National Senior Games presented by Humana to be held in Greater Fort Lauderdale. Start your “year out” Games preparation now to begin to shift beyond the challenges of 2020. Find details for how to enter here.
By building a strong fitness base today you have a better opportunity at success during the 2021 Games next November.
3 Ways A Walk-In Bath Can Boost Your Athletic Performance
The following information has been provided to you by our partner, Kohler Walk-In Bath.
Tired and sore after setting that new personal record? Let’s talk about the multiple benefits walk-in bathtubs offer that can enhance your athletic performance and boost your muscle recovery.
Hydrotherapy is a water treatment that people across the world use to rehabilitate their muscles. In hydrotherapy sessions, people immerse themselves in warm water while the whirlpool jets apply constant pressure to soothe muscle pain. Hydrotherapy can also benefit your mental health by making you feel less tired and more relaxed.
The KOHLER Walk-In Bath features whirlpool jets that target the back, legs, and feet while providing an invigorating Bubble Massage that makes you feel weightless.
A walk-in bath is a great supplement to your post-workout routine that leaves you feeling energized for your next workout.
Deep Soaking Experience
The KOHLER Walk-In Bath provides warm water that quickly fills the tub to provide you with a soothing post-workout experience. With luxurious features such as a comfortable seat, hand shower, and chest-high water soaking, the Walk-In bath brings the comfort of a spa right into your own home.
Research shows that heat can increase the blood flow in your body, which ultimately helps any sore muscles relieve tension. That’s why saunas and hot spas are popular post-workout routines for athletes.
Immersing your muscles in warm temperatures is essential in post-workout muscle recovery. Add some Epsom salt to your bath for some additional comfort to soothe your sore muscles.
Athletes often find it difficult to treat certain muscle groups, such as shoulders or back muscles. Heated backrests are a great option to treat sore muscles that are difficult to reach. With a heated backrest, you can uniformly apply pressure and comfort to your muscles to help you achieve a smooth, balanced recovery.
KOHLER Walk-In Baths include a heated backrest so you can maximize your comfort and treat your muscles with care. After a soothing bath, you’ll be ready to crush your next workout with ease.
Seniors, we wish you the best in your training and look forward to meeting you at the National Senior Games in 2021! Stay tuned for more wellness and recovery tips from KOHLER Walk-In Bath.
Heartline™ Study now open to eligible individuals with any Medicare plan, including Medicare Advantage
If you have Medicare Advantage or Traditional Medicare, consider joining the Heartline Study, a nationwide, virtual heart health research study that you can participate in right from your home.
Johnson & Johnson, in collaboration with Apple, is offering eligible U.S. adults, 65 years and older with an iPhone, the opportunity to join the Heartline Study. Individuals with and without a diagnosis of AFib are eligible to join. The Heartline Study is designed to explore if the Heartline Study app on iPhone and heart health features on Apple Watch can potentially improve heart health outcomes, including reducing the risk of stroke, with earlier detection of AFib. The study also provides a rich engagement program with activities that may help improve your sleep, fitness and wellness and help you become more engaged in your overall heart health.
Read more about the study in this recent feature by Reader’s Digest.
There are a variety of ways to participate in the Heartline Study. All who join will need to have an iPhone 6s or newer. Some participants will take part using only their iPhone. Some participants will also be asked to wear an Apple Watch. Those asked to wear a watch will be offered two options: purchase one at a special study price or get one on loan for the duration of the study and return it when your participation in the study ends. Johnson & Johnson and Apple are committed to ensuring that participation in the study is not limited based on financial need.
Participation in the Heartline Study will span a total of three years with two years of active engagement, followed by one year of additional data collection. During the active engagement period, participants will receive heart health education, wellness tips, surveys, and questionnaires across multiple topics related to overall heart health in the app each week.
If you’re 65 or older and interested in being a part of the study, visit Heartline.com to see if you’re eligible to enroll.*
*Key eligibility criteria include: you must be 65 or older, a U.S. resident for the duration of the study, own an iPhone 6s or later (with iOS 12.2 or later) and have Original (Traditional) Medicare or Medicare Advantage. Other eligibility participation requirements will apply.