The American Senior Fitness Association presents Experience!

March 15, 2007              

Table of Contents

Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes (Fitness study)
Barnyard Friends
(Not your typical companion pets!)
Men and Bone Fracture
(Osteoporosis research)
Chew on This
(Unexpected nutrition finding)
Large Girth Predicts Lung Dysfunction
(Respiratory health)
Cup o' Joe
(Reducing post-workout soreness)
Myth Bustin'
(Tale of the gray hair)
Attention Personal Trainers
(Your turn to save)

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Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes

According to research findings
published in Diabetes Care, the majority of people with (or at risk for) type 2 diabetes do not engage in physical exercise. This is true in spite of the fact that most say their personal physicians have recommended exercise. To make matters worse, it seems that those in the greatest need of regular physical movement are the very ones least likely to perform it.

The researchers analyzed data compiled from more than 23,000 American adults. They found that 58 percent of those without diabetes reported undertaking moderate to energetic physical activity, for 30 minutes or longer, at least three times per week. However, only 39 percent of those with diabetes were physically active. Also, most of those with multiple risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes were notably inactive.

Type 2 diabetes is the form of the disease that is associated with obesity. One risk factor for developing the condition is having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher. BMI, a measure of one's body weight in relation to one's height, indicates how lean or fat an individual is. Exercise is instrumental in managing body weight, and thereby BMI. In the absence of regular physical exercise, persons with type 2 diabetes are more likely to experience complications such as hypertension and/or nerve damage.

To be effective, the physical activity performed does not have to be disagreeably long or strenuous. Affected individuals should consider walking, dancing, swimming pool workouts, or any number of other pleasurable pastimes that get people moving.

Barnyard FriendsLambs_Picture

Cats and dogs
may be the most popular companion pets these days, but they're not the only furry "family members" that are helping folks dispel loneliness and gain extra enjoyment and connection from everyday life. According to the University of Florida Health Science Center, a growing number of companion farm animals are being kept as pets. Popular examples include potbellied pigs, llamas, alpacas, goats, and sheep.

With pet ownership, of course, comes the responsibility of providing one's animal with appropriate nutrition and medical care. For many farm pet lovers, that involves education and gaining access to qualified veterinary services. In response to this need, the University of Florida has launched an ambitious outreach program to assist the owners of companion farm animals in its region.

"I was ecstatic to learn about this wonderful program and hope universities nationwide will follow suit," said SFA president Janie Clark. "As a kid growing up in the country, my friends and I were active in 4-H where I learned to care for my own chickens, ponies, and horses. Now that I live in town, I keep cats and dogs -- but I grow wistful thinking of my farm animal friends! Someday I'll probably return to my roots and adopt another farm pet. It's great to know that new resources are becoming available to help ensure that these animals enjoy healthy, happy lives."    

Clark was also impressed by the love for farm animals expressed by UF's new faculty member, Dr. Ellen Wiedner, who is in charge of expanding the program. For more information, click on "
Companion Animal Pets Have New Resource at UF's Veterinary Medical Center."        

Men and Bone Fracture

Conventional wisdom has it
that women are at higher risk than men for osteoporosis and for the broken bones that can result from it. While that is generally true, older men do face significant consequences once they have experienced one low-level trauma fracture. This was among the findings of an Australian study published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association and subsequently described in detail by HealthDay.

What is a low-level trauma fracture? As opposed to an injury caused by a serious accident (such as falling off the roof of a building), a low-level trauma fracture can result from a seemingly minor incident (for example, simply tripping and then falling from one's own standing height). When low-level trauma causes a fracture, osteoporosis is often in play.

Interviewed for the HealthDay report, lead researcher Jacqueline Center explained, "After a first fracture, the risk of a subsequent fracture in women is doubled, but for men it is increased three- to four-fold, so that the absolute risk of a subsequent fracture is the same for women and men." Therefore, any protective effect from being male is lost after the initial fracture event.

Another way to understand this, according to researchers, is that the re-fracture risk for a man who has sustained his first low-level trauma fracture is similar to the risk for a man 20 years older. So a 60-year-old man who suffers this type of break will be at the same risk for another break as an 80-year-old man.

In older men, the risk for a re-fracture is linked to lowered bone density, inadequate calcium intake, and insufficient physical activity. Men with a history of cigarette smoking and those who have been treated with cancer medications or steroids also should take note that their bones may have lost some strength. Following a low-level trauma fracture, older men should seek the advice of their personal physicians in an effort to prevent further fractures.     

Chew on This

Just when you think the experts have agreed
on some widely-reported "fact," along comes a study that throws it all into question. Case in point: For some time now, garlic has been credited with the power to lower LDL, the harmful form of cholesterol. However, a small study published this month in the Archives of Internal Medicine found no evidence that either raw garlic or garlic supplements were effective in that regard. As quoted by the Pulse wire service, the scientists involved in the project were garlic fans and were genuinely disappointed by the negative results of their investigation.

Large Girth Predicts Lung Dysfunction

A newly published study
in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition supports the predictive value of waist circumference with regard to breathing-related problems, according to a report by Reuters Health. Researchers at the University of Ottawa looked at 1,674 adults in order to establish relevant patterns among waist circumference, body mass index (BMI), and lung function. Ultimately, a large waistline proved even more consistent than a high BMI at accompanying respiratory dysfunction -- especially for persons who were neither overweight nor obese.

Specifically, a large waist circumference was related to deficits in both forced vital capacity (the total lung volume of air that can be exhaled) and forced expiratory volume in one second (the maximum volume of air that can be expired in one second). Obesity has long been considered by scientists to be one contributing factor to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and to asthma.

The bottom line for fitness personnel is: Implement exercise plans designed to help your client reduce his or her waist circumference measurement. This study shows that even a change of just one centimeter can make a big difference in pulmonary health. 

Cup o' Joe

Here's some news
for people who shun physical activity due to their dread of post-exercise soreness. According to a new study published in the Journal of Pain, caffeine may help to reduce that form of discomfort.

University of Georgia researchers, studying a small sample of volunteer exercisers, found that moderate amounts of caffeine curbed post-workout muscle soreness by up to 48 percent. "Moderate" means the equivalent of about two cups of coffee. Researchers caution that this might not work for persons who are already habitual caffeine users.

Caffeine is believed to reduce muscle soreness by blocking receptors for the chemical adenosine, which is released by the human body in response to inflammation.

Myth Bustin'

We've all heard the warnings:
Don't pull out that single, offending gray hair! If you pull out one, it will cause more gray hairs to grow!

But is that really true? To investigate the veracity of this legend, Cox News Service consulted the American Academy of Dermatology which provided the following facts. Gray hair is determined by genetics. It results from a loss of pigmentation in the hair follicle and shaft. Plucking out a hair could stress its follicle and might alter the growth of that particular hair. However, it won't cause other hair follicles to turn gray.

Attention Personal Trainers

SFA's recent one-week price reduction
on educational programs for group-exercise instructors led those interested in senior personal training to request the same consideration. So from today through March 26, 2007, we're extending comparable terms on SFA Senior Personal Trainer study packages.

This rate decrease is limited to Senior Personal Trainer resources only and to orders placed by Monday, March 26 only.

For details, please
click here or call SFA (M-F, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Eastern) at 800-243-1478 or 386-423-6634.

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.

Free SFA basic membership: If you aren't already a member of the American Senior Fitness Association (SFA), just sign up online at There are no fees or membership dues. And, we don't give out our members' personal information to others!

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