This Will Make Your Day!
If we claimed watching a video clip for under three minutes would
brighten your whole day, would you watch it? Please do this for yourself!
Senior Fitness Association (SFA) member Patricia Darcy, certified by the All
Florida School of Laughter Yoga, leads playful physical activity classes that
tickle her participants of all ages. Founded by Indian physician Dr. Madan
Katoria, Laughter Yoga is devoted to uplifting spirits, easing emotional stress,
and sharing the physical benefits of movement.
All types of senior fitness programs stand to gain from a good dose of
laughter! To see all the smiles in Patricia's Laughter Yoga class, visit
Weight Training and Breast Cancer
For decades, many breast cancer survivors have received a medical
warning that now appears misguided. The advice goes: Avoid lifting weights and
other heavy items -- even hefty grocery bags -- because doing so could cause
painful swelling of the arm.
a study published this month in the New England Journal of Medicine has doctors
taking another look. Results indicate that instead of contributing to the
problem, weight lifting helps prevent it.
Dr. Eric Winer, breast cancer chief of Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Center,
commented on the new findings for the Associated Press, saying: "How many
generations of women have been told to avoid lifting heavy objects? Women who
were doing the lifting actually had fewer arm problems because they had better
Alzheimer's and Language Skills
People with higher language skills as young adults may be better able
to stave off Alzheimer's disease (AD) well into their eighties and nineties.
This is the implication of a small, very interesting study recently published in
the journal Neurology.
For many years, scientists have questioned why certain people with AD-typical
placques and tangles in their brains still enjoy unimpaired mental faculties
throughout their entire lives. That state is called "asymptomatic Alzheimer's
disease" by the authors of the new study. It was the subject of earlier research
that affected the design of this investigation.
The researchers autopsied the brains of 38 Catholic nuns. At the time of
10 had Alzheimer's
10 had asymptomatic Alzheimer's
5 had mild cognitive impairment
13 had no cognitive deficits or brain lesions.
The scientists were also able to obtain essays penned by some of the subjects
during their late teens or early twenties, when they joined the convent. These
early writings were analyzed for grammatical complexity and idea density (the
average number of ideas communicated per every ten words). Although grammatical
complexity proved unimportant, idea density proved otherwise. The compositions
of those with no cognitive problems were significantly denser in ideas than
those written by the sisters who later developed AD or mild impairment.
Lead author Dr. Juan C. Troncoso of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore
stated: "Perhaps mental abilities at age 20 are indicative of a brain that will
be better able to cope with diseases later in life." Writing of the small study
in Neurology, the research team noted: "...it remains a fascinating observation
that an intellectual ability measured in the early 20s can predict the
likelihood of remaining cognitively normal 5 or 6 decades later, even in the
presence of substantial AD pathology."
We All Live in Iowa?
SFA author Jim Evans is a 41-year veteran of the health-fitness
industry and an internationally recognized fitness consultant. Today he responds
to the lifespan-related concerns of an older adult in America's Heartland.
DEAR JIM: I'm 67 and live in Iowa where people seem to live a little longer
than the average, so it might mean that I can milk some extra mileage out of
this old body. But it seems to me that most of the older folks I know are
spending their later years in nursing homes, so what is the advantage of living
longer except for bragging rights? PUZZLED IN PANORA
DEAR PUZZLED: Iowans do live longer on the average than most Americans, but
the margin is pretty slim. Minnesota actually tops the charts, or close to it,
most of the time. Still, even Minnesotans live just a few months longer on the
average. Sometimes Iowans and Minnesotans get a little cocky about this "edge"
they have on the rest of the country. But is it really worth very much in the
overall picture? Probably not.
think you have already surmised that living longer does not necessarily equate
with living better. Many older adults do spend their later years in nursing
homes, which can often be attributed to their earlier inactive lifestyles. That
should tell you something.
Quality of life will become a more important issue for all of us as we live
longer, so you should be concerned about taking care of yourself, rather than
depending on a dubious statistical advantage. There are likely to be continuing
improvements in public health and medical technology, but these advances may not
be able to keep up with our aging population.
Exercise, more than any other single factor, will improve your quality of
life and add to your potential longevity. It is never too late to start a
fitness program, and there is some form of exercise for everyone regardless of
age or physical limitations. There is no reason why most older adults cannot be
active, vital human beings in their later years if they take care of themselves.
If you choose not to be physically active, you should expect to pay a price
in terms of reduced quality of life. If you didn't wash and wax your car, change
the oil regularly, fill it with gas, have regular tune-ups and -- most
importantly -- DRIVE IT, your car would eventually break down. The body is not
any different. This might seem like a silly parallel, but it's true!
Most seniors can significantly improve their quality of life by becoming more
physically active. But many of them won't. Why? They will say they are too old,
too sick, too tired, or too weak. They will tell you they can't. As my father
used to say, "can't" never did anything. He was right!