December 4, 2008
Table of Contents
(Groundbreaking industry news coming this
What Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Diseases Have in Common (Senior
Bowling and Joint Pain (Israeli study leads to safety tips)
Migraines and Blood Clots (Medical research)
Vitamin D Deficit (Older adults at risk)
- Innovation Is on the Way!
Innovation Is on the Way!
Be sure to see the upcoming installment of Experience!
which is scheduled for publication on December 16, 2008. It will be a
special issue on a subject that has become a major hot topic in
the senior fitness field: older adult cognitive health.
will also announce a new initiative that has the potential for changing
the senior fitness industry as we know it -- in a highly positive way
both for older adult fitness professionals and for the aging clients
whom they serve.
Many senior fitness professionals have been following the recent
scientific breakthroughs on brain health with keen interest. This new
body of knowledge holds out the hope of preventing or postponing the
development of dementia, possibly even including Alzheimer's disease. It
is a great boon for society that practical steps exist which may help to
preserve optimal cognitive functioning.
But how can senior fitness practitioners get involved? How should
older adult trainers and instructors integrate brain fitness into their
current physical activity services? For a number of years, the American
Senior Fitness Association's Brain Fitness Project has been
considering these questions. Now the time has come for some answers,
beginning with our next issue of Experience!
What Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Diseases Have in Common
A joint report produced by the Greater Boston Physicians for Social
Responsibility and the Science and Environmental Health Network
indicates that several of the risk factors for developing Parkinson's
disease and Alzheimer's disease are actually the same. In both cases,
recommended preventative measures address maintaining an active
lifestyle that includes due focus on proper nutrition. Conversely,
variables that may contribute to both diseases include a poor diet, a
lack of physical exercise, high stress (or inadequate stress
management), and exposure to certain unhealthy chemicals.
Following are specific pointers provided by the report:
- With aging, stay active physically.
- Also, stay active socially.
- Regularly challenge your brain, for example, by working
crossword puzzles or by playing chess -- activities that call on
executive cognitive engagement (critical thinking).
- Limit exposure to pesticides and to lead, which can increase the
risk for Alzheimer's disease. This safeguard also applies to
- Incorporating green tea and red wine into one's diet can be
useful since both contain strong antioxidants. Specific to the
prevention of Parkinson's disease, caffeine also may be effective.
- Enjoy generous amounts of fresh vegetables and fruits.
- Reduce the consumption of saturated fats and trans fats.
- Limit your intake of foods that tend to be high in mercury (for
example, king mackerel and swordfish).
- Increase dietary consumption of omega-3 fatty acids.
Notice that all of the recommendations listed above relate to one's
lifestyle. That is good news, since these guidelines suggest everyday
choices and issues over which individuals can exert some control. To
read the complete report, click on
Bowling and Joint Pain
Staying physically and socially connected as we age means
different things to different people. For many, bowling has emerged as
an active, enjoyable recreational pursuit undertaken in a socially
stimulating atmosphere. Still, bowling enthusiasts should take care to
avoid injuries that have been associated with the game.
Researchers at Israel's Tel Aviv University recently looked into the
prevalence of bowling-related injuries and reported their findings in
the journal Work. Their survey of nearly a hundred amateur bowlers (who
are members of two bowling clubs) disclosed that approximately 62
percent of the subjects reported experiencing musculoskeletal strain in
one or more joints during the previous year.
- Safety advice resulting from the study includes:
- Pay attention to good form; be sure to perform the activity
- Warm up prior to play, and stretch sufficiently afterward.
- Follow a balanced, comprehensive physical activity program in
addition to participating in the sport of bowling.
- Make the effort to prevent injuries that can occur due to muscle
imbalances. For example, regularly exercise your non-dominant
arm. This precaution is also especially pertinent for tennis
Migraines and Blood Clots
Researchers reporting in the journal Neurology recently described
their analysis of more than 550 senior citizens (age 55-plus), some of
whom were migraine headache sufferers. Nineteen percent of those with a
history of migraines were found to have experienced venous thrombosis,
meaning blood-clotting in a vein. That is in contrast with only eight
percent of those with no history of migraines. Therefore, persons who
regularly undergo such headaches may wish to carefully monitor their
Vitamin D Deficit
D is vital for the absorption of calcium which, in turn, is
essential for maintaining strong bones and avoiding osteoporosis. It
follows that vitamin D has an important role to play in fall prevention.
Researchers at the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy have
found that many older adults do not get enough of the vitamin, according
to the Pulse wire report. The scientists noted that seniors tend not to
get outdoors as much as younger persons, which matters since sunlight is
a reliable source of vitamin D. Likewise, seniors often do not ingest
sufficient vitamin D-fortified foods such as orange juice and milk.
The research subjects of the study ranged in age from 65 to 89 years
old. One interesting finding to surface from the investigation was this:
When pharmacists educated the participants about the importance of
vitamin D, their intake did increase -- but, even so, it remained below
the amount needed for robust senior health.
Whereas the government recommends 400 to 600 IU (international units)
of vitamin D per day, these university researchers doubt that such
levels are sufficient for the elderly. They suggest a daily intake of
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
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personal information to others! When you join SFA, you'll receive our
e-newsletter "Experience!" which will bring you older adult fitness news,
research, and wellness tips.
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