November 4, 2008
Table of Contents
- Five Easy Pieces
(Tips for maintaining mental health)
- Funding Breast Cancer
Research (SFA advisor walks the walk)
- Balancing Act (Senior
- Daytime Sleeping and
Recovery Outcomes (Rehabilitation news)
- The Ages of Aging
Five Easy Pieces
According to The Times (London), scientists working for a British
government think-tank named Foresight have developed a simple, yet
structured, plan to help individuals stay sane and increase their
personal happiness. It revolves around a "five-a-day" program of basic
activities that scientific evidence suggests can boost mental health.
Also described by RedOrbit online news service, Foresight's Mental
Capital and Wellbeing report takes a servings-per-day approach similar
to nutritional recommendations for consuming fruit, vegetables, protein,
and other types of food. In short, the report advises incorporating at
least one activity from each of five categories into one's life every
day. Those categories encourage one to:
- Connect. Developing relationships with
family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors will enrich your life and
bring you support.
- Be active. Sports, hobbies such as
gardening or dancing, or just a daily stroll will make you feel good
and maintain mobility and fitness.
- Be curious. Noting the beauty of
everyday moments, as well as the unusual, and reflecting on them
helps you to appreciate what matters to you.
- Learn. Fixing a bike, learning an
instrument, cooking -- the challenge and satisfaction bring fun and
- Give. Helping friends and strangers
links your happiness to a wider community and is very rewarding.
Funding Breast Cancer
SFA National Advisory Board member Amelia Leonardi, PT, MS, is a
breast cancer survivor who devotes great energy to fund-raising for
research to fight the disease. She recently raised thousands of dollars
for the cause through the American Cancer Society's annual Making
Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. Doubly active, Amelia worked for
contributions by telephone and email and also completed the 5-kilometer
walk held in New Orleans on October 11th.
in a Times-Picayune newspaper article about the event, Amelia shared a
moving story which began with her diagnosis of breast cancer in 1992.
Discussing the role of family and friends during her experience, Amelia
said, "Because I've gone through it, I know how important support is."
SFA president Janie Clark -- a lifelong friend of Amelia's -- was also
interviewed for the piece. Pictured here are Amelia, her husband
Jacques, Janie and Grant Clark during the latter couple's visit while
Amelia undertook chemotherapy.
One quick correction to the Times-Picayune article: It wasn't Amelia's
sister who died of breast cancer in 1999. It was Janie's sister, Lynne.
Nonetheless there certainly was sisterhood among all three women, who
grew up together in a close-knit South Carolina farming community. To
read the complete article, please click on
Cancer Survivor Knows the Value of Support.
To summarize in advance,
product reviewers at SFA are impressed with the three-part "Balance
Basics" DVD series led by senior personal trainer Lori Whittle. As Lori
explains in her pre-exercise introduction, the workouts are not intended
to provide aerobic training but, instead, they emphasize movements for
balance and strength. The demonstrations are presented without
accompanying music because many older adults need a quiet atmosphere to
aid focus and concentration while performing balance activities.
However, others can easily add background music if desired. The routines
take place in a calm living room setting that features greenery and
natural light. Simple exercises are shown at a relaxed pace appropriate
for the intended participant. Most senior exercisers can be predicted to
feel very comfortable with Lori Whittle's style which includes a
pleasant voice, a nice smile, and good explanations of how certain
exercises tie in with daily life. Thoughtfully, she also encourages
short, regular water breaks. Below is a brief description of each DVD:
All of these Balance Basics routines feature sound advice on posture and
breathing during exercise. From a safety perspective, the movements are
carefully demonstrated and responsibly instructed. Regarding a subject
that is less frequently discussed, SFA's reviewers also complimented the
camera work. In too many exercise DVDs, we see a facial or upper body
close-up just when the instructor calls for a change in foot positioning
-- or vice versa -- but the visual recording on these DVDs helps make
the routines easy to follow. For further details, click on
People with Mobility Limitations (41 minutes) serves those who
may be affected by medical conditions, mental impairment, or visual
changes. Warm-up, strength, and flexibility exercises are performed
in a chair-seated position. Standing balance activities include
weight shifts, side-stepping, and forward/backward stepping.
- Level 1: Balance Essentials (45
minutes) is geared toward those who have been active, but not
necessarily athletic, most of their lives and are now growing
concerned about balance changes they may be noticing. This routine,
which entails both chair-seated and standing movements, includes
safe walking techniques, core and upper body strengthening, static
balance practice, and flexibility work.
- Level 2: Balance Challenge (50
minutes) applies to those who are more athletic, have been
exercising regularly, or are seeking a greater balance challenge.
While core strengthening and flexibility work are performed in a
chair-seated position, most of the movements in this routine are
done standing. That includes static balance activity, moving balance
activity, upper body strengthening, and walking/eye focus practice.
NOTE: Balance Basics DVDs are available at SFA's partner site,
the Mature Fitness Shoppe. Although the store is not officially open,
select items are already available for purchase and more are being added
daily. Here's some good news: SFA members receive a 10% discount off the
store's already low prices. Simply type "SFA08" into the Promotion Code box
on the checkout page to receive your discount. You can visit the store
or go directly to
Balance Basics DVDs.
Daytime Sleeping and
Scientists at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System and UCLA
David Geffen School of Medicine recently completed a study of nearly 250
older adults (average age slightly over 80) who had been admitted for
rehabilitation due to stroke, heart problems, or orthopedic conditions.
Writing for the journal Sleep, they disclosed their conclusions: Older
patients who exhibit excessive daytime sleeping tend to enjoy less
improvement in physical functioning. This finding held true after
patients' discharge from a medical facility and was still evident three
months following the incident of illness or injury that occasioned the
hospitalization. Researchers theorize that daytime sleeping might reduce
effort during therapy sessions which could, in turn, impede recovery
during the rehabilitation process. The good news is that sleep patterns
can be adjusted, thereby improving the prospects for optimal
Ages of Aging
As a French author who lived from 1802 to 1885, Victor Hugo can be
forgiven for not knowing how we keep pushing the following numbers
"Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age."
-- Victor Hugo
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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