The American Senior Fitness Association presents Experience!

November 17, 2006               


Table of Contents

Doctor, My Eyes... (Physical activity and macular degeneration)
Alcohol and Aging (Surprising research)
Hyper Work Hours and Hypertension (Blood pressure study)
After a Hip Fracture (Exercises that work)
Diet and Alzheimer's Disease
(Nutrition breakthrough)
Waltzing With Heart
(Cardiac rehab made fun)
Thanksgiving Attitude
(Humor)
Season's Savings
(Don't miss out!)


SFA Members can access "Experience!" online at www.SeniorFitness.net/Experience.htm

Please click here to visit www.SeniorFitness.org


A Special Note from the Editor

Be sure to see our last item in today's newsletter -- "Season's Savings"
-- to take advantage of your special SFA membership benefits this holiday season!


Doctor, My Eyes...

Great news
in the fight against age-related macular degeneration (AMD): Staying physically active may help to reduce one's risk for developing the disease.

AMD damages the central vision of the eye and ranks as a leading cause of blindness in elderly persons. In one form of the disease known as exudative (or "wet") AMD, extra blood vessels form behind the eye, leading to internal bleeding and scarring. It is this type of AMD that Wisconsin researchers recently linked to physical exercise, according to the British Journal of Ophthalmology. The researchers found that maintaining an active lifestyle can discourage the development of wet AMD.

The 4,000 subjects of this research, ages 43 to 86 at the beginning of the study, were evaluated once every five years for 15 years. Even after other risk factors (such as tobacco use, hypertension, and excessive body weight) were taken into account, regular physical activity still appeared to provide a protective effect against the development of macular degeneration.


Alcohol and AgingAn early patent medicine

Most of us have heard that sipping modest amounts of red wine
may be healthful. But what about alcohol in general? And what about alcohol for older adults? Researchers at the University of Florida Institute on Aging joined with scientists from several other universities to explore these issues.

After studying 2,487 men and women, ages 70 to 79, investigators concluded that the light-to-moderate drinkers (those consuming from one to seven drinks per week) were 26 percent less likely to die from heart disease and about 30 percent less likely to develop it, compared to the nondrinking seniors in the study.

It came as a surprise to the scientists that alcohol's anti-inflammatory properties didn't fully explain the study's findings. So they will be looking into additional possibilities in the future. For further details about this study, click on to "
Health Benefits of Moderate Drinking Extend to the Elderly."



Hyper Work Hours and Hypertension

Too much overtime may be bad for your blood pressure
, according to a new study published in the medical journal Hypertension. Researchers who analyzed 24,305 working people found that those who toiled 41 to 50 hours per week ran a 17 percent higher risk for high blood pressure than those who worked fewer than 40 hours per week. Persons working more than 50 hours per week ran a 29 percent higher risk.


After a Hip Fracture

Following is an edited abstract
from "Community Exercise Program for Older Adults Recovering from Hip Fracture: A Pilot Study" by Gareth R. Jones and colleagues, Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 14(4), 439:

Community-based rehabilitative exercise programs might be an effective means to improve functional outcomes for hip-fracture patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a community exercise program for older adults recovering from hip fracture.

Twenty-five older adults (24 women and one man), ages 74 to 86, participated in this pilot study. Each had sustained a hip fracture 45 or more days earlier, and each met strict cognitive and medical criteria in order to take part in the study. Seventeen were placed on a community-based physical exercise program, while 8 served as a control group.

The community exercise program involved 45-minute fitness sessions, twice per week, for 16 weeks. Each session began with a warm-up period that included range-of-motion activity for the upper and lower body. This was followed by 10 to 25 minutes of aerobic activity with rest-breaks being taken as needed on an individual basis. Next, lower extremity strengthening exercises (using light ankle weights) were performed in a standing position. These exercises included leg lifts toward the front, the back, out to the side, and a semi-leg squat. For the squat, participants slowly lowered their body weight into a sturdy armchair (without using their arms and hands) -- but before settling their full weight into the chair, they slowly returned to standing. The strength exercises began with 1 set/5 reps and gradually progressed to 2 sets/10-15 reps over time. Likewise, ankle weights progressed from 1.5 lb per ankle to 3.5 lb per ankle over time. Each session ended with a cool-down period that included range-of-motion activities, balance exercises, and stretches.  

Participants in the control group received only standard outpatient therapy.

Measures including functional mobility, balance confidence, lower extremity strength, and daily physical activity were evaluated at the beginning of the study and again after 16 weeks.

Improvements in self-reported physical activity, mobility, balance, and knee-extensor strength were observed for the community exercise program group. This study demonstrated that a community exercise program is beneficial for community-dwelling older adults post-hip fracture.


Diet and Alzheimer's Disease

Grab the olive oil, fish, whole grain cereals, and legumes!
These staples -- along with plenty of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and even modest amounts of red meat -- make up a "Mediterranean diet," which may help to reduce the risk for developing Alzheimer's disease.

As described by the Pulse wire report, researchers recently found that study participants whose eating patterns closely match the Mediterranean diet are 68 percent less likely to have Alzheimer's disease, compared to participants whose diets are quite unlike it.

Earlier research had already suggested that a Mediterranean diet might help prevent certain other conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. This new study linking the Mediterranean diet to reduced Alzheimer's risk is scheduled for publication in December's issue of the Archives of Neurology. 


Waltzing With Heart

Recently Experience! covered an upbeat study
on the health benefits we can gain by dancing the tango. Now comes along an even newer dance study, this time on the waltz!

Italian scientists have found waltzing to be an effective activity for cardiac rehabilitation, according the Associated Press. In a study of 110 heart failure patients, waltzing equaled bicycling and treadmill-walking at increasing the participants' exercise capacity.

Also, compared to cyclists and treadmill users, the waltzers experienced greater improvements in sleep, mood, and energy for housework, hobbies, and romance. Doctors think that the added benefits of waltzing may stem partly from having a companion for cardiac rehabilitation exercise.


Thanksgiving Attitude

This month as we contemplate
some of the past and present blessings we've enjoyed throughout life, perhaps we'll crack a smile:

"There is always a lot to be thankful for, if you take the time to look. For example, I'm sitting here thinking how nice it is that wrinkles don't hurt."
                        -- Author Unknown


Season's Savings
 
American Senior Fitness Association (SFA) is proud it hasn't raised fees on educational resources since 1997 -- including all of our new-edition books, manuals, videos, certifications, continuing ed, and more.

That's right, no price increase in more than nine years!

Incredible? That's how much we respect those who study and spread the best in senior fitness practices. Our mission is to support older adult fitness leaders and the participants they serve.

Still, over the last nine-plus years, SFA's operational costs did not remain fixed. So at our accountants' insistence, beginning December 15, 2006, there will be a 10% to 20% price increase on all SFA educational products and services.

Here's great news ... if you act fast:
  • Until 12/14/06 our limited amount of stock on-hand will be sold at the current, soon-to-be-gone prices. Of course all stock consists of current editions, up-to-the-minute and ideal for future use and implementation by fitness & healthcare professionals.
  • For SFA Members Only: As a Season's Savings Gift you can take advantage of your special member discount plus take an additional $10 off the price of any and every educational program ordered by 12/14/06. (Members may make purchases for non-members.)
  • More Good News for SFA Members: Since on-hand supplies are short, you may reserve programs that you wish to purchase by check. Use the toll-free number below to place your reservation, and the material you order will be set aside for you. When your check arrives, your order will be shipped. Checks must be received by 12/14/06.  
SFA's state of the art educational materials are internationally respected. We offer recognized continuing ed courses, certificate programs, and professional certification in Senior Fitness Instructor, Senior Personal Trainer, and Long Term Care Fitness Leader. We have simple, practical how-to guides and videos -- as well as in-depth, advanced studies used at the college and university level. Please click here,
SFA Training Programs, for detailed course and product descriptions.

Having brooked no price increase for nearly a decade, SFA pledges to continue keeping costs in line as is our mission and custom. SFA's basic membership remains free of charge and our Experience! newsletter free to all SFA members -- including laypersons, fitness enthusiasts, exercise and healthcare professionals, their clients, and their patients!       

If you've been thinking of further senior fitness education -- for personal growth, a second career, continuing ed purposes, or certification credentials for your professional group or facility -- the time is definitely now!

To order while supplies last, call toll-free 1-800-243-1478 (M-F, 10am-5pm Eastern). To order by mail, click here for a PDF  "Member Special" order form
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Experience! readers: Thank you for your interest and questions. Due to the high volume of contacts SFA receives, we cannot respond to individual queries or comments. However, the newsletter does address frequently asked questions and topics of vital interest to our members.


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When you join SFA, you'll receive our e-newsletter "Experience!" which will bring you older adult fitness news, research, wellness tips -- even easy, health-conscious recipes now and then!

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