April 15th, 2013

Table of Contents:

New PBS Documentary Age of Champions (SFA members watch free!)

Exercise and Lung Disease (Training tips)

More on Lung Disease (Moffit Cancer Center study)

The Upside of Exercise (A motivational resource)

Hard-to-Treat Breast Cancer (Medical investigation)

Fighting Obesity (Exciting research!)

SFA Graduating Class at College of Marin (Congratulations)

Ahhh, Spring (Humor)

New PBS Documentary Age of Champions

by American Senior Fitness Association

The American Senior Fitness Association invites you, your friends, clients and colleagues to watch the new PBS documentary Age of Champions for free from April 18th – 28th at www.ageofchampions.org/premiere

Age of Champions tells the story of five competitors who sprint, leap, and swim for gold at the National Senior Olympics. You’ll meet a 100-year-old tennis champion, 86-year-old pole vaulter, and rough-and-tumble basketball grandmothers as they triumph over the limitations of age.

“All of the characters in the film have the conviction that the best in life still lies ahead of them. They show us how we can grow older with grace and good humor,” says Age of Champions director Christopher Rufo.

The film premiered to a standing ovation at the prestigious Silverdocs Film Festival, the Washington Post hailed it as “infectiously inspiring,” and it’s already shown at more than 1,000 venues around the world.

Share this resource with your friends, clients and colleagues by emailing them the following link:

AGE OF CHAMPIONS NATIONAL ONLINE PREMIERE
April 18th – 28th
Live Q+A with the filmmakers on April 25th
www.ageofchampions.org/premiere

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Exercise and Lung Disease

by American Senior Fitness Association

With medical approval, physical exercise can be very beneficial for persons with chronic lung disease. In fact, it has been shown to improve their endurance, decrease symptoms and reduce hospital stays, according to the book Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions.* The authors recommend working with one’s doctor to develop a personalized exercise plan, to start out at a very low intensity level, and to progress very gradually. Over time, one’s shortness of breath at a given exertion level should begin to decrease. Following are some additional training tips specific to lung disease from the authors of Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions:

Using your medicine — especially an inhaler — before exercising can help you to exercise for longer periods of time and to do so with less shortness of breath.

If you become severely short of breath upon minimal exertion, your physician may wish to adjust your medicines. For some patients, the doctor may order the use of supplemental oxygen before beginning an exercise session.

Perform lengthy, thorough warm ups and cool downs. While warming up and cooling down, breathe in through the nose, allowing your belly to expand outward, then exhale slowly through pursed lips. Establish a daily low-intensity routine on which you can build gradually.

During exercise, mild shortness of breath is to be expected. Also, prior to exercise, you may experience an "anticipatory" increase in heart rate and breathing rate. Although this is normal, it can be intimidating or tiring for some persons with chronic lung disease. A gradual warm up period including pursed lip breathing can help. Also, avoid your
personal "trouble zones" of shortness of breath by limiting exercise intensity and duration to levels well under the threshhold at which severe shortness of breath occurs.

Throughout the exercise session, breathe in deeply and slowly. Exhale through pursed lips, taking two to three times as long to exhale as to inhale. When walking, for example, if you take take two steps while inhaling, practice exhaling through pursed lips over four to six steps. Exhaling this slowly improves air exchange in the lungs and will likely increase endurance.

Note that arm exercises may cause shortness of breath sooner than leg exercises do.

Cold air and/or dry air can make breathing and exercising more difficult for persons with chronic lung disease (which is why many choose swimming as their preferred exercise activity).

With physician approval, strength training (for example, calisthenics or light weight lifting) may be especially helpful for persons who have been weakened or deconditioned due to medications such as steroids.

For exercise beginners who have low endurance or who fear exerting themselves, using a restorator can offer a greater sense of control, build self-confidence, and provide a secure, user-friendly way to get used to physical exertion. A restorator lets you stay chair-seated during exercise. You can start and stop the device as desired. It is a small piece of equipment featuring foot pedals that you place on the floor at the foot of your chair (or even attach to the foot of your bed if lying-down exercise is needed). To exercise, simply pedal. The resistance level can be adjusted, and leg length and knee bend can be accommodated by placement of the restorator. This can be particularly useful for persons who have poor balance.

*Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions, Third Edition, was written by Kate Lorig, RN, DrPH; Halsted Holman, MD; David Sobel, MD; Diana Laurent, MPH; Virginia Gonzalez, MPH; and Marian Minor, RPT, PhD; with contributor Peg Harrison, MA, MSW, LCSW.

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More on Lung Disease

by American Senior Fitness Association

Not all lung disease is caused by cigarette smoking, but way too much is. And smoking can be very hard to give up. Still, there are benefits to quitting the habit at any stage of life — even after receiving a diagnosis of lung cancer or even after cancer surgery. A recent study conducted by the Moffit Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, found that quitting prior to surgery is best.

Described by HealthDay, an affiliate of the National Institutes of Health, this study involved lung cancer patients as well as head and neck cancer patients who quit smoking either before or immediately following their surgery. The patients were followed-up for a year after surgery.

For patients who had quit smoking before surgery, the relapse rate was only 13 percent. By contrast, 60 percent of those who continued smoking during the week before surgery resumed smoking afterward. Most patients who took up smoking again did so shortly after their surgery. The researchers found that patients were more likely to relapse if they were at higher risk for depression, if they had a high amount of fear regarding cancer recurrence, and if they were less likely to trust in their ability to stop smoking.

Researchers noted that their findings underscore the importance of urging patients to quit smoking upon diagnosis and the value of offering stop-smoking programs to patients both pre- and post-surgery.

The study’s corresponding author Vani Nath Simmons stated: “Cancer patients need to know that it’s never to late to quit. Of course, it would be best if they quit smoking before getting cancer, but barring that, they should quit as soon as they get diagnosed. And with a little assistance, there is no reason that they can’t succeed.”

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The Upside of Exercise

by American Senior Fitness Association

You may know SFA professional Caroline Anaya, MS, as author of the popular book The Curious Upside of Aging. She also offers a short video, The Upside of Exercise, that can be an effective recruiting tool for health-fitness professionals. It provides 29 inspirational testimonials in 30 minutes on DVD. These authentic and heartwarming testimonials have already motivated many seniors to move past their concerns, issues and mistrust regarding the benefits of exercise… and give it a go! For more information, visit www.Great-Senior-Fitness.com.

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Hard-to-Treat Breast Cancer

by American Senior Fitness Association

Can a diet high in fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of getting estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer?That is the question that a research team led by Seungyoun Jung, formerly of the Harvard School of Public Health, sought to answer by conducting a study recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer is rarer than other forms of breast cancer and has a lower survival rate. The study detected a lower incidence of the disease among women who consumed high amounts of fruits and vegetables — especially vegetables. However, it failed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship. Perhaps women who eat more fruits and vegetables tend to lead healthier lifestyles overall, which would help to reduce their risks. Notwithstanding, following a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables is clearly worthwhile.

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Fighting Obesity

by American Senior Fitness Association

UF&Shands, the University of Florida Academic Health Center is the most comprehensive of its kind in the southeastern United States. Below is a UF&Shands news release about amazing research that may lead to surprising advances in the ongoing battle against obesity:

University of Florida researchers and colleagues have identified a protein that, when absent, helps the body burn fat and prevents insulin resistance and obesity. The findings from the National Institutes of Health-funded study were published Nature Medicine.

The discovery could aid development of drugs that not only prevent obesity, but also spur weight loss in people who are already overweight, said
Stephen Hsu, M.D., Ph.D., one of the study’s corresponding authors and a principal investigator with the UF Sid Martin Biotechnology Development Institute.

One-third of adults and about 17 percent of children in the United States are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although unrelated studies have shown that lifestyle changes such as choosing healthy food over junk food and increasing exercise can help reduce obesity, people are often unable to maintain these changes over time, Hsu said.

“The problem is when these studies end and the people go off the protocols, they almost always return to old habits and end up eating the same processed foods they did before and gain back the weight they lost during the study,” he said. Developing drugs that target the protein, called TRIP-Br2, and mimic its absence may allow for the prevention of obesity without relying solely on lifestyle modifications, Hsu said.

First identified by Hsu, TRIP-Br2 helps regulate how fat is stored in and released from cells. To understand its role, the researchers compared mice that lacked the gene responsible for production of the protein, with normal mice that had the gene.

They quickly discovered that mice missing the TRIP-Br2 gene did not gain weight no matter what they ate — even when placed on a high-fat diet — and were otherwise normal and healthy. On the other hand, the mice that still made TRIP-Br2 gained weight and developed associated problems such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol when placed on a high-fat diet. The normal and fat-resistant mice ate the same amount of food, ruling out differences in food intake as a reason why the mice lacking TRIP-Br2 were leaner.

“We had to explain why the animals eating so much fat were remaining lean and not getting high cholesterol. Where was this fat going” Hsu said. “It turns out this protein is a master regulator. It coordinates expression of a lot of genes and controls the release of the fuel form of fat and how it is metabolized.”

When functioning normally, TRIP-Br2 restricts the amount of fat that cells burn as energy. But when TRIP-Br2 is absent, a fat-burning fury seems to occur in fat cells. Although other proteins have been linked to the storage and release of fat in cells, TRIP-Br2 is unique in that it regulates how cells burn fat in a few different ways, Hsu said. When TRIP-Br2 is absent, fat cells dramatically increase the release of free fatty acids and also burn fat to produce the molecular fuel called ATP that powers mitochondria — the cell’s energy source. In addition, cells free from the influence of TRIP-Br2 start using free fatty acids to generate thermal energy, which protects the body from exposure to cold.

“TRIP-Br2 is important for the accumulation of fat,” said Rohit N. Kulkarni, M.D., Ph.D., also a senior author of the paper and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Joslin Diabetes Center. “When an animal lacks TRIP-Br2, it can’t accumulate fat.”

Because the studies were done mostly in mice, additional studies are still needed to see if the findings translate to humans.

“We are very optimistic about the translational promise of our findings because we showed that only human subjects who had the kind of fat (visceral) that becomes insulin-resistant also had high protein levels of TRIP-Br2,” Hsu said.

“Imagine you are able to develop drugs that pharmacologically mimic the complete absence of TRIP-Br2,” Hsu said. “If a patient started off fat, he or she would burn the weight off. If people are at risk of obesity and its associated conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, it would help keep them lean regardless of how much fat they ate. That is the ideal anti-obesity drug, one that prevents obesity and helps people burn off excess weight.”

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SFA Graduating Class at College of Marin

by American Senior Fitness Association

Congratulations to Betsy Best-Martini’s latest Exercise Leader for Adults with Special Needs graduating class at California’s College of Marin.

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Ahhh, Spring

by American Senior Fitness Association

At last! Spring is well under way and we can get outdoors for a nice walk! Here’s one wry take on this much-welcomed season:

    Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush."

    – Doug Larson

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