January 6th, 2010

Table of Contents:

Welcome, New Year! (Motivation)

Household Activities Add Up (Exercise in advanced age)

Nutrition in 2010 (Humor)

Exercise and Knee Osteoarthritis (Research)

Yet Another New Year (Age brings wisdom)

Fit to Drive? (Successful aging)

Let’s Get On with It (Best wishes for the new year)

Welcome, New Year!

by American Senior Fitness Association

Here at Experience! we hope that each and every reader will enjoy a successful 2010 both personally and professionally. As we enter this new year, here are some special words of encouragement:

"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day."

    — Edith Lovejoy Pierce



Household Activities Add Up

by American Senior Fitness Association

Paul Donohue, MD, writes a newspaper column named "To Your Good Health" which is published byThe News-Journal of Daytona Beach, Florida. Recently he addressed a question from an 89-year-old man and his 86-year-old wife. For them, running and jogging are not possible and even walking is becoming more difficult. However, both are still able to keep busy around their home and yard. The following information comes from Dr. Donohue’s response:

In advanced age, exercise does need to be approached with prudent caution, which includes obtaining physician approval to participate. Even so, many forms of physical activity may be beneficial.

One definition of exercise includes any activity that burns three to six times the number of calories that are spent while sitting quietly. On average, we burn 1.2 calories per minute when at rest (or about 70 calories per hour). How do housework and yardwork stack up when measured against that criterion? Many such tasks approach or exceed three times the resting calorie burn, as follows:

  • Typical general housekeeping chores — 4.8 calories per minute
  • Vacuuming — 3.2
  • Mopping floors — 4.2
  • Scrubbing floors — 7.3
  • Grocery shopping — 4.0
  • Preparing meals — 3.2
  • Raking leaves — 4.5
  • Mowing grass (push lawn mower) — 8.1
  • Exercise should raise one’s heart rate to a faster beat as compared to heart rate at rest. Ideally, this increased rate will be sustained for about 10 minutes at a time. However, if 10-minute bouts are not well-tolerated, then people should simply do what they can, with the goal of gradually building up to longer periods of activity. Eventually, total daily activity should reach 30 minutes, and that can be divided into three 10-minute sessions spaced out over the course of the day.


    Nutrition in 2010

    by American Senior Fitness Association

    Well, here’s one common-sense take on weight control:

    "People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas."

    – Author Unknown



    Exercise and Knee Osteoarthritis

    by American Senior Fitness Association

    Muscle activation refers to the level of involvement of the muscle fibers in a skeletal muscle when it is working. Full activation occurs when all of the available fibers are used during a maximum-effort contraction. Many persons with knee osteoarthritis (OA) cannot fully activate their quadriceps (front thigh) muscles, which often are very weak.

    A recent study published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism addressed the problem. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh studied 111 subjects (minimum age: 40) with knee OA. Quadriceps strength and quadriceps activation (QA) were measured at baseline and after six weeks of training. The subjects were assigned to one of two specific training programs, both of which included quadriceps strengthening exercises.

    After six weeks, strength gains were indeed found among the subjects, but one particular hypothesis of the scientists was not confirmed. They had expected baseline QA to be a strong predictor of which participants would respond best to either exercise plan. Instead, there was a broad range of divergence in strength gains, leading the researchers to conclude that variables other than QA score may be more useful in predicting which patients with knee OA are likely to benefit the most from quadriceps strengthening exercises.


    Yet Another New Year

    by American Senior Fitness Association

    With aging, more and more new years roll around. Over time, do we achieve personal growth? Yes, in both wisdom and experience — as is artfully expressed below:

    "Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us."

    – Hal Borland



    Fit to Drive?

    by American Senior Fitness Association

    SFA author Jim Evans, a 41-year veteran of the health-fitness industry, is an internationally recognized senior fitness consultant. Today he’s steering a concerned older adult towards safer driving.

    DEAR JIM: At 77, I find myself becoming more apprehensive about my ability behind the wheel. I haven’t told anyone about this — especially my children, because they would probably worry and take steps to keep me from driving anymore. It’s not that I’m a bad driver, but I just don’t feel as sure of myself as I used to, and I don’t want to have an accident and possibly hurt someone. Can you suggest anything to help me restore my confidence? APPREHENSIVE IN APPLETON

    DEAR APPREHENSIVE: You are not alone in your feelings, but at least you are honest enough to acknowledge your doubts and ask for help. More than 30 million drivers will be 65 or older by 2030 — one out of every four drivers — according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and they all will be experiencing the same feelings, whether they admit it or not. There is the fear of injuring someone else in an accident, of course, but let’s be honest — there is also the fear of losing your independence. What can you do about it?

    Let’s start with the physical part:

  • Maintain a regular fitness regimen to stay in optimal shape. It will boost your energy, your alertness, and your ability to respond quickly to road situations.
  • Schedule a physical exam every year to see if there are any conditions that might preclude you from driving.
  • Schedule a separate appointment regularly with your eye doctor to check your vision, including peripheral vision. Even though you might already wear glasses, don’t assume that your vision hasn’t changed. You might require a new prescription.
  • Check your medications to be aware of any side effects that might adversely affect your driving such as drowsiness, blurred vision, or disorientation.
  • Don’t neglect the physical condition of your car, either:

  • Make sure the seat is adjusted for maximum comfort to reduce fatigue, and position it so that you can see all the way around. Older adults typically lose height or "shrink" with age, so sometimes simply raising the seat can improve one’s ability to see more easily over the top of the dashboard.
  • Adjust your rear-view mirror and side mirrors to ensure maximum visibility from every angle.
  • Keep your windshield clean for optimal visibility and to reduce glare.
  • Check your tires regularly and have your car serviced on a regular basis to ensure its mechanical soundness. You will feel more confident behind the wheel if you know that your car is running smoothly.
  • And, finally, sign up for your local AARP Driver Safety Program http://www.aarp.org/family/housing/driver_safety_program/. The AARP Driver Safety Program (sometimes referred to as 55 ALIVE) is the nation’s first and largest refresher course for drivers age 50-plus and has helped millions of drivers remain safe on today’s roads. AARP has offered the course in the classroom for 25 years and now offers the same course online. It is designed to help you:

  • Tune up your driving skills and update your knowledge of the rules of the road.
  • Learn about normal age-related physical changes, and how to adjust your driving to allow for these changes.
  • Reduce traffic violations, crashes, and chances for injury.
  • Drive more safely.
  • Get an insurance discount. Auto insurance companies in most states provide a multi-year discount to AARP graduates.
  • AARP members also receive discounts on the AARP Motoring Plan from GE Motor Club.
  • Follow these tips, and you could be driving for a long time to come!


    Let’s Get On with It

    by American Senior Fitness Association

    In parting, here are a few positive thoughts to help get your new year off to a bright start:

    "New Year’s Day is every man’s birthday."

        — Charles Lamb

    "Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right."

        — Oprah Winfrey

    "One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things."

        — John Burroughs

    "A happy New Year! Grant that I

      May bring no tear to any eye.

    When this New Year in time shall end

      Let it be said I’ve played the friend,

    Have lived and loved and labored here,

      And made of it a happy year."

        — Edgar Guest