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At the 2017 National Senior Games, held in Birmingham, Alabama, from June 5-11, Needham’s master athlete, Amy Hicks, came home with four National Championship medals. Hicks' accomplishment represents the most she has ever made in in in one Senior Olympics out of 13 National Senior Games that she has competed in since 1991.
Hicks was competing in a new age group - 85-89 - and wanted to keep up the medal count as she earned one or more medals in each of her National Games.
The National Senior Games celebrated their 30th Anniversary this year and is the largest multi sporting event for seniors in the world. This year, the event had 10,500 athletes competing in 19 different sports.
Hicks began preparing for this year’s games in late February through mid May to get herself physically fit. Her primary doctor gave her two prescriptions: one for seven neuromuscular therapy treatments over seven weeks and the other for 30 minutes of water exercise, five days a week for seven weeks. To complete this task, she received therapy in Needham to work on her trigger points to help relieve pain in her low back and hips.
She was able to register for short-term monthly memberships at the Charles River YMCA in Needham and could easily work out her water exercises in a lane from noon to 3:00 p.m. She began her workout two or three times a week, increasing the time from 30 to 45 minutes, then to a full hour in her third month.
Having taught the Arthritis Aquatic Program for many years in addition to training in lower body injuries, Hicks set an extensive exercise program for herself to build strength, flexibility and endurance. This consisted of a warm up, full range of motion exercises for the hips, deep water exercises using a noodle for support to do water running, bicycling forward, backward and sideways, jumping jacks, splits and other moves to build endurance. She worked on her back, sculled forward, backward, swam back and front crawl, and side overarm, ending with stretching and dumbbell floats for resistance for her arms and core strengthening. She ended her session with more exercises in the shower.
Amy Hicks is looking forward to The Massachusetts Senior Games at Springfield College on June 24.
The next National Senior Games will be held in 2019 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.