The American Senior Fitness Association presents Round-Up

October 15, 2005

Table of Contents

Zinc Link (Nutrition research)
Make No Bones About It (Medical research)
Avoiding Over-Medication (Wellness tip)
Neighborhood Walking Activity in Older Adults (Exercise research)
Well Said (Inspiration)
Blood Pressure Affects Both Length and Quality of Life (Medical news)
A Gentle Reminder from SFA (Health advice)
Endurance Training and Resting Heart Rate (Exercise science)

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    Zinc Link

    If your diet is deficient in zinc
    , you could "run out of steam" prematurely during physical exertion. This finding is supported by researcher Henry C. Lukaski's recent report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 81(5), 1045 ("Low Dietary Zinc Decreases Erythrocyte Carbonic Anhydrase Activities and Impairs Cardiorespiratory Function in Men During Exercise").

    Lukaski's participants were given exercise tests while on a low-zinc diet. The results were compared to those of exercise tests given to the same participants while on a diet providing sufficient zinc. Impaired metabolic responses during exercise were observed in connection with the low-zinc diet. When zinc intake was too low, respiration was less efficient, fatigue set in at an earlier stage, and exercise performance suffered.

    Although the subjects of this study were young adults, the implications are important for older adults as well -- especially due to concerns regarding nutritional deficiencies among senior populations.

    Make No Bones About It

    Small babies
    can grow up into middle-aged adults with strong, healthy bones. This is the outcome of research conducted by Mark S. Pearce and colleagues on 171 men and 218 women, which was published by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 59, 475 ("Lifecourse Study of Bone Health at Age 49-51 Years: The Newcastle Thousand Families Cohort Study"). The study found that low birth weight does not necessarily presage lower bone mineral density later in life. Positive lifestyle factors in adulthood (such as performing regular physical exercise and following a good diet) will help to promote bone health, including in persons who were smaller and lighter at birth.

    Avoiding Over-Medication

    The Good Health Fact Book
    (a Reader's Digest publication) has some words for the wise about taking medicines safely and beneficially. Several physicians may prescribe different medications for one older adult without knowing what the patient's other doctors have prescribed. Meanwhile, the individual also may be using over-the-counter drugs. In some cases, this has led to certain medications duplicating the actions of others or, worse still, to adverse drug interactions.

    For these reasons, it is best to have a single doctor coordinating one's overall treatment plan. Ask your doctor to review your medications with you periodically. To prepare, inventory your medicine cabinet and compile a list of all the drugs you use. Do not omit over-the-counter remedies or vitamin and mineral supplements. An easier way to accomplish the same goal is simply to bag up all of your meds and take them along on a doctor's office visit. You and your doctor can go through them together to identify those you should continue using and those that may be unnecessary or inadvisable. Another good tip: Ask your doctor to explain things if you are unclear about the purpose of a prescribed medication or exactly how to take it properly.

    NOTE: To see an article on this topic by popular fitness author, James Evans, please click here:

    Neighborhood Walking Activity in Older Adults

    Following is an edited abstract
    from "A Multilevel Analysis of Change in Neighborhood Walking Activity in Older Adults" by Fuzhong Li and colleagues, Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 13(2), 145:

    This article reports on a multilevel analysis conducted to examine change in neighborhood walking activity over a 12-month period in a community-based sample of 28 neighborhoods of 303 older adults age 65 and over. The setting was the metropolitan area of a large city in the Pacific Northwest (Portland, Oregon). Neighborhood walking activity by seniors was characterized by a downward trajectory over time. Neighborhoods with safe walking environments and access to physical activity facilities (such as playgrounds, parks, and gyms) had lower rates of decline in walking activity.

    Note: To learn about "Walk 500", a program developed by SFA Mature Fitness Council members Ward Luthi, Christine Schnitzer and Maggie Spillner please click here:

    Well Said

    The famous physician and author Oliver Wendell Holmes
    (1809--1894) is the source of many witty and thought-provoking quotations. We here at SFA are especially fond of this one: "To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old."

    Blood Pressure Affects Both Length and Quality of Life

    The American Heart Association's
    journal Hypertension has published compelling findings on blood pressure, well summarized by a recent Reuters Health report. Using data from the famous decades-long Framingham Heart Study, researchers found that:

    -- Life expectancy for persons with normal blood pressure at age 50 was five years longer than that of their peers with high blood pressure; and

    -- Those with normal blood pressure at age 50 also enjoyed seven (or more) additional years free from cardiovascular disease during their lifespans.

    Normal blood pressure was defined as falling below 120/80 mm Hg; high as 140/90 or above. (In-between readings are considered prehypertensive.) These new findings underscore the importance of preventing and controlling high blood pressure.

    A Gentle Reminder from SFA

    Be careful
    not to carry your wallet in your back pocket where you'll be sitting on it. This advice is especially important if you have sciatica. Sitting on a wallet tends to shift your pelvis, which can result in microtrauma to the sciatic nerve.

    Endurance Training and Resting Heart Rate

    Following is a brief description of a recent report
    entitled "Resting Heart Rate Changes after Endurance Training in Older Adults: A Meta-Analysis" by Guoyuan Huang, Xiangrong Shi, Jane A. Davis-Brezette & Wayne H. Osness, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 37(8), 1381:

    This analysis examined the effects of aerobic exercise on the resting heart rate of sedentary older persons.

    Thirteen studies involving 651 older persons were analyzed. Each of the studies was a controlled trial, used subjects whose mean age was 60 years or older, applied aerobic exercise as the only intervention, included a nonexercising control group, measured changes in resting heart rate, and was published in an English scientific journal.

    The analysis upheld aerobic training's usefulness for reducing the resting heart rate in older participants. Among endurance exercisers, net change in resting heart rate averaged -6 beats per minute (a decrease of 8.4 percent). Training lasting longer than 30 weeks was more effective at lowering resting heart rate in older adults than was training of shorter length.

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