Whether you're an older adult, senior fitness professional, health care worker, family caregiver -- or any combination of the above -- "Round-Up" provides you with information of interest and news you can use.



November 1, 2005


Table of Contents

  • Senior Fitness Internship Program (Professional Development)
  • Everyday Activity Can Lower Blood Pressure (Research)
  • On Your Mark, Get Set, Go (Research)
  • Whip Up a Snack (Recipe)
  • Anti-Dizziness Precautions (Safety tip)
  • Exercise for Osteoarthritis of the Hip (Research)
  • A Law of Nature (Inspiration)
  • Pain Management and Exercise (Mayo Clinic report)

Senior Fitness Internship Program

Announcing an exciting opportunity to get "hands-on" senior fitness experience and to earn SFA approved continuing education credits all at no charge.

Jerry Hart, M.S., SFA’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator and Fitness Director for Country Club Fitness, Inc., at the prestigious Washington Golf & Country Club in Arlington, VA, will be accepting applications to take part in a 30 to 50 hour senior fitness intern program. Mr. Hart holds numerous fitness credentials (including three SFA certifications) and has over 20 years' experience in the fitness field with a special focus on mature populations. He will lead participants through a structured training program that will include all aspects of successful fitness center supervision and operation. As an intern you will learn to conduct orientations, evaluations, testing, personal training and more. Plus you will receive a special understanding of the lucrative country club fitness environment.

Upon successful completion of the program, SFA will award interns a certificate of achievement and continuing education credit sufficient to renew your SFA certification.

Internship candidates must be enrolled in or have completed an SFA professional certification program. To help accommodate participant scheduling, Mr. Hart has agreed to offer this special service in several time frames. One to three month sessions are available for Washington DC area residents, and an intensive one week session is being offered for out of town participants.

Initially this ongoing pilot program is only available in the Washington DC area, but plans are in the works to expand to other Country Club Fitness facilities and to appropriate fitness centers nationwide.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this, exciting opportunity please go to www.SeniorFitness.net/Senior_Fitness_Intern.htm for complete information.

Everyday Activity Can Lower Blood Pressure

Following is a brief description of a recent study entitled "Accumulation of Physical Activity Reduces Blood Pressure in Pre- and Hypertension" by Jaume Padilla, Janet P. Wallace & Saejong Park, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 37(8), 1264:

This study involved 8 subjects with normal blood pressure, 10 with prehypertension (systolic pressure between 120-140 mm Hg, or diastolic between 80-90), and 10 with hypertension (systolic above 140, or diastolic above 90). Ages ranged from early midlife into the sixties, with pre- and hypertension more prevalent as age increased.

The researchers looked at two types of days in the lives of their subjects: (1) a day without physical activity, and (2) a day including accumulated lifestyle activity such as mowing the lawn, raking leaves, digging in the garden, or brisk walking. After an 8-12 hour period of accumulating physical activity -- or not -- blood pressure was monitored for a second 12 hour period.

No changes were seen in the group with normal blood pressure, nor in the diastolic pressure of any group. However, adding everyday activity did lower the systolic pressure in subjects with prehypertension by an average of 6.6 mm Hg for a duration of six hours and in subjects with hypertension by an average of 12.9 mm Hg for a duration of eight hours!

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go

Following is an edited abstract from "The Interaction of Aging and 10 Years of Racing on Ultraendurance Running Performance" by Dale E. Rae and colleagues, Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 13(2), 210:

The aim of this study was to examine the interaction between aging and 10 years of racing in endurance runners. Race-time data from 194 runners who had completed 10 consecutive 56-km ultramarathons were obtained. The runners were either about 20, 30, 40, or 50 years old at their first race. Each runner's race speed was determined for each race over the 10 years. The data showed that:

  • Performance improved and declined at greater rates for younger runners;
  • Younger runners had a greater capacity for improvement than older runners;
  • Approximately 4 years were required to reach peak racing speed, regardless of age;
  • It was not possible to compete at peak speed for more than a few years; and
  • The combined effects of 10 years of aging and racing neither improve nor worsen performance.

In conclusion, these data suggest that although these runners showed similar patterns of change in race speed over a 10-year period, the extent of change in performance was greater in younger than in older runners.

Whip Up a Snack

Banana milkshake: In advance, peel and freeze two bananas. When the snacking urge strikes, mix them in your blender with a dash of vanilla extract and one-half cup skim milk. No sugar or honey necessary!

Anti-Dizziness Precautions

A common source of dizziness, postural hypotension, is characterized by a marked decrease in blood pressure when one stands or sits up quickly. Following are several measures that can ameliorate the condition, compiled from SFA's Senior Fitness Instructor Training Manual and The Good Health Fact Book published by Reader's Digest:

  • Avoid either standing or sitting down for prolonged periods of time;
  • When getting up from bed (whether to visit the bathroom during the night or upon awakening in the morning), spend a few moments sitting up before standing;
  • Before rising to a standing position, undertake preparatory movements: Alternately point and flex the feet a few times, and circle the feet at the ankles (first for several repetitions in one direction and then in the other);
  • When you are ready to stand up from the seated position, do so slowly;
  • If you are the caregiver for someone with postural hypotension, be available when he or she rises in order to offer an arm for support, if needed;
  • When chair-seated, prop legs up on a footstool;
  • When lying, elevate the legs up to heart-level (or higher) on pillows;
  • Ask your doctor about wearing support stockings (but steer clear of snug knee-highs as they tend to hamper blood circulation);
  • Be especially cautious immediately following meals due to postprandial hypotension, which is a common drop in blood pressure after eating;
  • Although a sprinkling of salt on meals or a sip of coffee afterwards can help to maintain blood pressure, these steps are inadvisable when certain medical conditions are present (consult your physician);
  • Alert your physician if dizziness is persistent or fainting occurs.

Exercise for Osteoarthritis of the Hip

Researchers in The Netherlands have announced cautiously optimistic findings on hip arthritis in a report well summarized recently by Reuters Health. The study found that exercise intervention, specifically strength training, may help to lessen the pain associated with hip osteoarthritis (the wear-and-tear form of arthritis).

One hundred nine men and women (ages 55 and older) took part in the study, either as members of an exercise group or as nonexercising controls. The exercisers attended supervised strength training sessions for eight weeks and were also taught lower body exercises to perform on their own at home.

After eight weeks, the exercisers reported lower pain levels than they had at the start of the study. Not all, but part, of this reduction in pain lasted for three more months. Nonexercisers, on the other hand, reported greater pain at the three-month follow-up than they'd had at first.

Exercise is widely used in the management of knee arthritis, but has undergone little study in connection with hip arthritis. These results provide encouraging evidence that exercise may be useful in the management of hip arthritis as well.

A Law of Nature

The American author, journalist, and humorist Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835 - 1910), also known as Mark Twain, sure got it right with this pithy observation:

"Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."

Pain Management and Exercise

The Mayo Clinic has some good advice for those of us who must cope with chronic pain: Do not shun physical activity. An article entitled "Chronic Pain: Exercise Can Bring Relief," provided on the www.MayoClinic.com website, lists the following reasons to use movement as a tool for pain management:

  • Physical activity helps one to avoid further health problems by reducing the risk for heart attack, stroke, hypertension, and diabetes.
  • Exercise increases energy level and promotes a sense of well-being, both of which can improve one's coping capabilities. It also stimulates the body to release chemical substances called endorphins, which block pain transmissions to the brain.
  • Persons with chronic pain often report difficulty getting sufficient restful sleep. Exercise can enhance sleep quality.
  • Exercise helps joints function through a fuller range of motion, which tends to reduce aches and pains.
  • Exercise can help one to lose excess body weight which, in turn, eases stress on the joints.
  • Exercise builds stronger musculature, which relieves pain by lessening the force and load on cartilage and bone tissues.

Round-Up readers: Thank you for your interest and questions. Due to the high volume of contacts SFA receives, we cannot respond to all individual queries or comments. However, we do address frequently asked questions and topics of vital interest to our members.

copyright 2005

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