This easy-to-learn buttocks exercise, which also works the legs, can help older adult fitness participants increase lower extremity strength, an important factor in preserving mobility and personal independence. Stand behind a sturdy straight-backed chair, placing both hands on top of the chair’s back. Your feet should be a comfortable distance apart (about shoulder width). Bend as if to lower your buttocks onto the seat of an imaginary chair directly behind you. This will involve pushing the buttocks backward somewhat while bending. Do not drop the buttocks below knee level. Return to starting position and repeat. Gradually build up to performing approximately 12 repetitions. One added advantage of implementing this version of the squat is that it includes balance support.
Posts Tagged ‘exercise’
The American Senior Fitness Association (SFA) is marking the end of this academic year with A-plus savings on SFA’s award-winning educational programs. You can earn a respected senior-specific fitness credential as well as two years’ worth of continuing education credit – fully meeting the CE requirements to renew many major fitness certifications – by taking just one complete SFA professional education course. And with SFA’s convenient distance-learning plan, you can do so in the comfort of your own home and according to your own personal schedule. No gasoline costs, no airport hassles, no pricey hotels, no hurry! Please visit www.SeniorFitness.net for more information or to order your SFA educational program.
Attention senior fitness professionals: You may wish to share the following brain fitness pointer with your older adult physical activity participants – and put it to work for yourself, as well.
Writing for the May 13-15, 2011, edition of USA Weekend, Cara Hedgepeth recently described the book The Winner’s Brain by Jeff Brown, Mark Fenske and Liz Neporent. Its authors maintain that qualities such as motivation are more important than IQ when it comes to achieving success in life.
Just one useful idea presented in The Winner’s Brain involves using a technique called “bookending” in order to help oneself prioritize goals and finish the most important task at hand.
When a number of things are on one’s mind, it can be difficult to focus on the job that needs to be wrapped up first. To utilize bookending, one should mentally employ cue words (such as “now”) to represent the needed bookend. Describing the conscious process, Hedgepeth writes: “Put everything but one task on the other side of that bookend so you can work on accomplishing that one goal. Once you’ve completed that task, lift the bookend and move on to the next.”
For additional ways to help your older adult health-fitness clients maximize their cognitive function, enroll in SFA’s popular professional education program “Brain Fitness for Older Adults.”
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.
The great universities of the world produce important research findings and provide practical medical care as well. Below are three current news releases from the University of Florida that demonstrate such centers’ value — and that will be of great interest to those involved in older adult health and fitness.
It’s a poorly kept secret that many senior citizens have both longstanding and ongoing experience in the use of marijuana. But did you know that physical exercise might curb the urge to partake? Jim Evans explains below.
DEAR JIM: I’ve been smoking “weed” most of my life – since I was about 20. I’m 73 now and I still smoke 3-4 joints a day. I’ve thought about quitting from time to time, but it helps me relax and it’s pretty much of a habit now anyway. As you can probably guess, I’m pretty laid back after all these years, but I have been experiencing an increasing number of panic attacks as I grow older. I know there isn’t any
way to treat my dependence with medication, and I really don’t want to quit anyway, but I’m wondering if some kind of physical activity might help me to cut back a little. POTHEAD FROM POMONA
DEAR POTHEAD: Until recently I couldn’t really say whether exercise might be a factor in curbing marijuana use or not. However, a recent study by Vanderbilt University Medical Center seems to indicate that exercise might actually curb both marijuana use and cravings.
The study, published earlier this year in the journal PLoS ONE , found that, after just a few sessions of running on treadmill, participants who were admittedly “cannabis-dependent” but did not want treatment to stop smoking pot, experienced a significant decrease in both cravings and daily use.
In fact, their craving for and use of cannabis was cut by more than 50 percent after exercising on a treadmill for 30-minute sessions over a two-week period. Researchers measured the amount of exercise needed for each individual to reach 60-70 percent of their maximum heart rate respectively, creating a personalized exercise treadmill program for each participant.
“This is 10 sessions but it actually went down after the first five. The maximum reduction was already there within the first week,” said co-author Peter Martin, M.D., director of the Vanderbilt Addiction Center.>
“There is no way currently to treat cannabis dependence with medication, so this is big considering the magnitude of the cannabis problem in the U.S. And this is the first time it has ever been demonstrated that exercise can reduce cannabis use in people who don’t want to stop.”
The importance of this study – and future studies – will only continue to grow with the new knowledge of the role of physical activity in health and disease, according to co-author Maciej (Mac) Buchowski, Ph.D, Research Professor of Medicine and director of the Vanderbilt Energy Balance Laboratory.
“It shows that exercise can really change the way the brain works and the way the brain responds to the world around us,” added Martin. “And this is vital to health and has implications for all of medicine.”
More research will need to be done to substantiate these findings, but it certainly sounds promising. In the meantime, you might start walking for 30 minutes a day – on a treadmill or otherwise – and gradually increase the pace and see what happens. You can do your own personal experiment to see if it helps you to cut back on your pot smoking. If not, at least you’ll be in better shape.
During the first quarter of 2011, SFA has begun a number of exciting initiatives including the preparatory stages of two new professional education courses. As these events unfold, look for detailed announcements in Experience! Below are just a few highlights from 2010:
Recent comments on the Brain Fitness for Older Adults professional education program:
Recent comments on the Long Term Care Fitness Leader professional education program:
Recent comments on the Senior Fitness Instructor professional education program:
had everything to work with. The manual is very good and useful as a reference." Pauline, Washington
Recent comments on the Senior Personal Trainer professional education program:
Today we celebrate an outstanding leader in the field of older adult fitness and take a revealing look at his most recent book-length publication, which is entitled the Healthy Hips Handbook: Exercises for Treating and Preventing Common Hip Joint Injuries. In the book’s introduction, author Karl Knopf states that it "is designed to help prevent a hip problem for some and, for those of you with existing hip problems, provide post-rehabilitation exercises that you and your health-care provider can select to best meet your needs."