The American Senior Fitness Association presents Experience!

December 15, 2006               

Table of Contents

A Holiday Treat That's Good for You? (The Johns Hopkins chocolate study)
Losing Height with Age
(It may signal more than osteoporosis)
Famous Conductor Gets People Moving
(Older adult exercise)
Selecting a Stationary Bicycle
(Consumer assistance)
Coping with Aphasia
(Help for patients and caregivers)
Enjoying a Variety of Activities
(Senior fitness research)
The Definition of Old Age

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A Holiday Treat That's Good for You?

Now don't get carried away
, but a component of high-quality dark chocolate could be good for the heart. That's what HealthDay has reported in connection with a recent study conducted at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Researchers there were looking into the (potentially dangerous) clotting of blood platelets. They asked their subjects to avoid caffeinated drinks and chocolate, since those items can affect platelet activity.

But a good number of the subjects cheated and ate chocolate anyway! As it turns out, the blood platelets of those who sneaked the chocolate had a reduced tendency to stick together forming harmful clumps.

The subtance in dark chocolate that lengthened the blood platelets' clotting time is an antioxidant known as flavonoid.

It's good to know that every holiday indulgence doesn't necessarily carry with it an imminent health risk. Just remember to use moderation!  

Losing Height with Age

Most everyone knows
that a gradual loss of height over the years is a sign of bone loss caused by osteoporosis. But a new study involving older British men indicates that height loss might also be linked to heart disease, according to the Associated Press. Subjects in this study who had lost approximately one inch in height, or more, over a 20-year period were found also to be at higher risk for cardiovascular disease.

Famous Conductor Gets People Moving

David DworkinMaestro David Dworkin
has turned his love of the symphony into a physical fitness opportunity for others. His new workout program "Conductorcise" combines classical music, low-impact exercise, and healthy doses of humor and fun. Enjoyed by young and old alike, the invigorating series is now available on DVD. For details, click here "
Conductor David Dworkin."    

Selecting a Stationary Bicycle

This time of year
people formulate resolutions to start getting more exercise. For many, cycling may be the perfect route to better health and fitness. If you're in the market for a stationary bike, SFA author Jim Evans has some helpful tips on making a smart buy.

A 38-year veteran of the fitness industry, Jim is a nationally recognized consultant and the host of San Diego's popular radio talk show "Forever Young." His observations are sure to get you off on the right track with cycling. For good advice, click here "
Choosing a Stationary Bike."

Coping With Aphasia

Jim Evans has more in store for Experience! readers
than bike-buying tips today. He is also discussing the subject of aphasia (which is an impairment of the ability to use or comprehend words, usually sustained as the result of a stroke or other type of brain injury).

Jim illustrates this article by recounting the touching personal story of a friend. For an informative discussion including practical pointers, click here "
Asking About Aphasia."

Enjoying a Variety of Activities

Following is an edited abstract
from "'There's More to Life Than Just Walking': Older Women's Ways of Staying Healthy and Happy" by Lynette Adamson and Glennys Parker, Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 14(4), 380:

This study assessed a range of activities reported by older women in Australia. Three thousand nine hundred fifty-five women between 75 and 81 years of age responded to a request in a self-report survey for additional information concerning their health.

Of these 3,955 women, 509 reported taking part in a variety of activities. Analysis of the responses identified 55 categories of activities that were subsequently classified into four major themes: physical activities, creative pursuits, lifestyle, and social interaction.

Woman on horseThe data show that these women are taking part in a wide range of activities. Following are just a few examples of the physical activities reported by the women: bird watching, dog walking, horse training, beachcombing, tennis, croquet, badminton, aquatics, Tai Chi, and yoga.

Creative pursuits included art, music, bridge, handcrafts, reading, writing, cooking, crossword puzzles, and Mah-jongg (a game of Chinese origin played with tiles resembling dominoes).

Many lifestyle activities were reported by the women. A few examples: volunteering, paid employment, learning computer skills, and learning a new language.

Social interaction involved not only friends and family, but also club memberships. The researchers concluded that many older Australian women are leading very active, healthy, and productive lives.

The Definition of Old Age

Leave it to Oliver Wendell Holmes
to put it just right:

"Old age is fifteen years older than I am." 

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!

You'll also receive occasional e-mail news flashes, senior fitness updates, and special informational articles throughout the year.

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Copyright 2006 American Senior Fitness Association (SFA)