Posts Tagged ‘blood pressure’

Stick With It

Monday, May 23rd, 2011 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

The passage of time can be a good thing under the right circumstances. That’s the take-away from recent research conducted by cardiologist Paul Bhella of the JPS Health Network. He found that a lifelong (or long-term) devotion to physical activity can preserve the heart tissue of senior citizens – to a degree, in fact, that is comparable or superior to that of younger, healthy persons who don’t work out, according to a report by Alex Branch of the McClatchy-Tribune.

By now most people know that physical exercise is heart-healthy. But some may fear that they started their fitness programs too late in life to do them any good. Over time, the human heart loses mass and elasticity, which increases the risk of heart failure. But here at SFA, we emphasize that it is never too late to get going and reap worthwhile physiological and psychosocial benefits.

At the annual meeting of the
American College of Cardiology in April, 2011, Dr. Bhella discussed his research team’s findings. They compared the hearts of subjects over age 65 who had exercised different amounts (if at all) during their lives with the hearts of subjects under 35 who, while healthy, were physically inactive. MRI results showed that youthful heart mass was maintained in the older adults who had habitually exercised four or five times per week. Better still, exercising six or seven times per week not only preserved mass, but also promoted new mass – exceeding that of youngsters (ages 25 to 34) who didn’t exercise. Similar outcomes were observed regarding heart elasticity.

For the study’s purposes, “exercise” was defined as aerobic activity, such as walking or cycling, generally performed for more than 20 minutes per session. Importantly, a “lifelong” commitment to exercise did not necessarily mean uninterrupted physical activity since childhood – or even since high school. Most of the senior citizens with notably desirable heart mass and elasticity levels had been physically active for about 20 to 25 years. That suggests that middle-aged and older persons can gain greatly by embarking on a regular program of physical exercise.

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Salty Language

Monday, December 20th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

The holiday season may not be the most accommodating time to get nutritional advice across, but dietary sodium doesn’t take a vacation from contributing to high blood pressure. So here’s a short-and-sweet, easy habit to start now and carry through into the new calendar year: To remove some of the excess salt, always drain and rinse your canned vegetables before preparing them.

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Whey, a cheese by-product, has been shown to help “significantly reduce elevated blood pressure.”

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Researchers at Washington State University found that “daily doses of commonly available whey brought a more than six-point reduction in the average blood pressure of men and women with elevated systolic and diastolic blood pressures.” They noted that this level of reduction “can reduce cardiovascular disease and bring a 35 to 40 percent reduction in fatal strokes.” Lead researcher Susan Fluegel also noted that it is a low-cost supplement and that “whey protein has not been shown to be harmful in any way.” Please click below for a report from EurekAlerts

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A recent study indicates resistance training is effective in lowering blood pressure.

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

A recent study indicates that resistance training has effects similar to aerobic exercise in lowering blood pressure. Researchers at Appalachian State University found that 45 minutes of “moderate intensity resistance exercise” led to a 20 percent decrease in blood pressure. Lead investigator Dr. Scott Collier noted that “resistance exercise increases blood flow which reduces blood pressure.” According to Dr. Collier, “any exercise is good. But if you can’t do aerobic exercise, resistance exercise can help decrease blood pressure and increase metabolism as well as provide social and psychological benefits” He also noted that “exercise has no adverse side effects.” Please click below for a report from Appalachian State University News.

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Weightlifting and High Blood Pressure

Monday, May 3rd, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

The Mayo Clinic has some sound advice for persons with high blood pressure who are interested in taking up weightlifting, as follows:

  • Consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program in order to adopt a plan that is individualized to your needs and medical status.
  • Note that weightlifting can cause a temporary rise in blood pressure; how much is mainly dependent upon the amount of weight lifted. However, regular physical exercise (including moderate weightlifting) leads to health benefits outweighing the risk for most people and can lower blood pressure in the long-run.
  • If you have high blood pressure, lift lighter weights. Heavy weight causes more strain and, in turn, a higher spike in blood pressure. To challenge your muscles using lighter weight, increase the number of repetitions you perform.
  • Never hold your breath while weight training. Breath-holding can raise blood pressure dangerously. Do breathe naturally and continuously throughout every lift.
  • Use proper form to minimize the risk for accidental injury.
  • Stop activity if you experience severe shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain or chest pressure.
  • SFA guidelines call for notifying one’s physician at once in the case of chest pain or pressure, and in the event of recurring breathlessness or dizziness.

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    Blood Pressure Levels and Dementia

    Thursday, April 1st, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    Is there a definitive link between high blood pressure and cognitive decline, including Alzheimer's disease? That is a question the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will seek to answer through its upcoming Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT).

    This autumn, the NIH will begin enrolling participants in SPRINT, the most ambitious trial to date designed to determine whether reducing systolic pressure below the currently recommended level of 140 mm Hg can also reduce the risk for age-related dementia. Some subjects will be randomly assigned to a program endeavoring to keep systolic pressure below 120.

    This trial will involve 7,500 persons. The participants, all age 55-plus, will be followed-up for at least four years.

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