Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

Who’s Who in Senior Fitness

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Karl G. Knopf, Ed.D., is a long-time member of the American Senior Fitness Association (SFA) National Advisory Board. "Dr. Karl" — as his students affectionately call him — has been involved in the health and fitness area for the disabled and for mature adults for more than 30 years. Currently he is the coordinator of the Adaptive Fitness Therapy Program at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California.

In the past Dr. Knopf has been a consultant for numerous grants, including National Institutes of Health grants. He is a frequent guest on the PBS "Sit and Be Fit" television series; has served as advisor to the State of California on fitness for the disabled; and has been featured in the LA Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other major publications discussing the benefits of physical activity for older adults.

Dr. Knopf is the author of more than 10 books, including the following titles published by Ulysses Press: Stretching for 50 Plus, Weights for 50 Plus, and Sports Conditioning for 50 Plus. His latest book is the Healthy Hips Handbook (2010), which is also published by Ulysses Press.

Dr. Knopf can be reached via email at


The Healthy Hips Handbook

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

SFA president Janie Clark has this to say about Karl Knopf as an older adult fitness author: "I have always loved Karl’s style because it is so clear, so practical, and so to-the-point. This is very true of his newest contribution, the Healthy Hips Handbook, which I am delighted to recommend for both senior fitness professionals and mature adult laypersons alike."

The book, released in 2010 by Ulysses Press, is a reader-friendly manual that outlines causes and solutions for common hip problems. The publisher notes that millions of people suffer from debilitating hip conditions each year and that Knopf’s book offers easy-to-follow exercises to:

Build strength,

Improve flexibility,

Hasten recovery, and

Avoid future injury.

It also features specially designed programs to help prevent common hip issues and to condition the body for successful participation in everyday activities, as well as in popular sports activities.

The Healthy Hips Handbook begins with an overview and an illustrated discussion of the anatomy and functions of the hip joint. It moves on to describe the symptoms, usual causes, and treatment options regarding a number of prevalent hip-related concerns, including:

  • Groin strain,
  • Bursitis,
  • Snapping hip,
  • Iliotibial band fascitis,
  • Sciatic pain,
  • Hip dislocation,
  • Hip pointers,
  • Osteitis pubis,
  • Degenerative joint disease, and
  • Pelvic girdle fractures.
  • One useful and interesting provision in the manual is its section on self-massage. The author explains that massage can relax a muscle or, in some cases, invigorate it. Often massage will increase blood flow to the area and can release tension, prepare a joint for motion, or provide relief following an exercise/therapy session.

    The physical exercises presented by the handbook are divided into six categories, as follows:

  • Stretches
  • Standing activities,
  • Seated activities,
  • Floor activities,
  • Ball activities, and
  • Sports-ready activities.
  • There are more than 300 excellent step-by-step photographs of the exercises, all of which are accompanied by clear and concise written instructions. The physical exercise recommendations are augmented by helpful discussions of pertinent subjects, such as:

  • Hip replacement,
  • Micro versus macro trauma injuries,
  • Healthy hips lifestyle tips,
  • Healthy hips training tips, and a
  • Proper posture checklist.
  • Dr. Knopf is singularly qualified to provide exercise guidance to older adults and disabled persons. SFA president Janie Clark says, "In addition to his impressive academic credentials and professional achievements, Karl also has life experience that enhances and distinguishes his work." Once a college
    wrestler and triathlete, Dr. Knopf subsequently injured his back while lifting a patient out of a wheelchair. At that point, he adjusted his exercise routine to revolve around swimming and the use of a recumbent bicycle.

    "I learned from this experience what it is like to live with daily pain," he has said, adding with a touch of humor: "I think this makes me a better teacher because I feel worse than most of my students. I also know that if I don’t exercise I’ll feel even worse!" Indeed, he hasn’t let the injury slow him down very much, but has always remained active in every sense of the word.

    Regarding his work with older adult fitness participants, Dr. Knopf told SFA many years ago: "My philosophy is that I like for people to set themselves up to win." This approach shines through in the following short excerpt from the Healthy Hips Handbook. In the author’s own words:

    "It helps to know the areas of the body that are vulnerable to injury. Besides the hips, the knees, neck, low back, shoulders, and ankles are high-risk. Pay special attention when performing exercises that involve these areas, and follow these rules:

  • "Don’t allow your legs to spread too wide or too far forward or back.
  • "Always perform exercises with proper execution.
  • "Don’t neglect the small supporting actors of your hip joint (most of us focus on the ‘show’ muscles and forget the importance of these smaller muscles).
  • "Pay attention to how your head, upper back, and legs are positioned during activities of daily living and in the workplace."
  • The Healthy Hips Handbook contains 135 pages and retails for $14.95. Retail orders are shipped free of charge. California residents must include sales tax. For further information or to order the book, here’s how to contact the publisher:

  • Call 800-377-2542 or 510-601-8301,
  • Fax 510-601-8307,
  • Email, or
  • Write to Ulysses Press, P.O. Box 3440, Berkeley CA 94703.
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    Research indicates that endurance exercise increases our “ability to rejuvenate old muscles”

    Friday, December 10th, 2010

    Research indicates that “endurance exercise increases the number of muscle stem cells and enhances their ability to rejuvenate old muscles.” Prof. Dafna Benayahu, Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine, noted that “When we age, we experience sarcopenia, a decline in mass and function of muscles, and osteopenia referrers to bone loss.” The research team’s finds show that, by increasing the number of satellite cells (muscle stem cells), exercise leads to an enhanced ability to maintain proper muscle mass. A click below for a report from American Friends of Tel Aviv University.


    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.


    There’s more good news about regular exercise!

    Monday, November 22nd, 2010

    Leslie Alford, physiotherapist and lecturer at the University of East Anglia, conducted a research review of 40 scientific papers. Her summary of the key findings indicated that regular exercise can reduce the risk of many health conditions including heart disease, dementia as well as some forms of cancer. Ms. Abbott stated that “what is clear from the research is that men and women of all ages should be encouraged to be more physically active for the sake of their long-term health.” Please click below for a report from Science Daily.


    Here’s a tip from Posit Science: “Giving Health Advice for Older People? Don’t Forget the Brain”

    Friday, October 29th, 2010

    Posit Science’s Karen Merzenich asks “what good is it to be 100 years old and physically fit if my mind is gone?” Her post, “Giving Health Advice for Older People? Don’t Forget the Brain,” appears in the Posit Science corporate blog where she suggests that “in aging, we need everything in our arsenal: the physical fitness, the diet, the friends and family, the shower bar, and unequivocally–the brain training.” Please click below for the complete post.


    Is whole body vibration training an effective workout?

    Thursday, October 28th, 2010

    Commenting on whole body vibration exercise, Dr. Edward R. Laskowski of the Mayo Clinic, said that it “isn’t likely to result in measurable weight loss or fitness gains.” However, he noted that the technique has some known benefits and “may have a place in some fitness routines.” Please click below for Dr. Laskowski’s comments.


    Whole body vibration may help offset age related bone density loss

    Thursday, October 28th, 2010

    Whole body vibration, a technique dating back to the 1800s, may help offset age related bone density loss. Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia “found vibration improved density around the hip joint with a shift toward higher density in the femur, the long bone of the leg, as well. Hip fractures are a major cause of disability and death among the elderly.” They also noted that “while vibration lacks the same cardiovascular benefit of exercise, animal and human studies also have shown it can improve muscle strength and weight loss.” For a MCG news release please click below.


    Healthy lifestyle choices have been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer

    Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

    Healthy lifestyle choices have been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer, even for women with a family history of contracting the disease. In a lengthy study of over 85,000 women, researchers at the University of Rochester “observed that regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and drinking less alcohol lowers breast cancer risk for women with, and without a family history of the disease.” Click below for report from the University or Rochester Medical Center.




    Fitness authority Wayne Westcott, Ph.D. supports “a public health mandate for resistance training”

    Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

    Fitness authority and syndicated columnist Wayne Westcott, Ph.D. endorses ACSM’s call for “a public health mandate for resistance training.” Dr. Westcott supports the ACSM statement; “… resistance training is as effective as aerobic training in lowering risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other diseases.” According to Dr. Westcott, “resistance exercise is essential for adults and seniors.” Please click below to see the column as it appears in the Quincy, MA. “Patriot Ledger.”