Posts Tagged ‘independence’

Home Sweet Home

Friday, September 17th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

The English poet Robert Montgomery, who lived from 1807 to 1855, captured the feelings of many in these lines:


"Home, the spot of earth supremely blest,

A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest."

– Robert Montgomery



Phone a Friend for Fitness

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

Here’s a tip for incorporating more physical activity into your daily schedule. American Senior Fitness Association (SFA) president Janie Clark suggests that, instead of sitting down for a long "gab-fest" with absent friends and family, you make a "walk and talk" phone date. You can coordinate with your sister in Seattle, your old roommate in Cleveland or your mother in Boca Raton to "meet" for a walk at a pre-set time.

Describing your surroundings as you walk may even help to create new conversation topics and shared experiences of nature and the great outdoors. Plus, differing fitness levels won’t be a factor.

Janie recommends utilizing a phone with a headset to allow for freedom of arm movement and selecting a safe walking environment where neither traffic nor the occasional distraction might put you at risk of injury. Health-fitness professionals, you may wish to pass this idea along to the clients you’ve been encouraging to do some walking on their own between scheduled fitness sessions under your direction.


More on Walking

Monday, April 19th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

With the weather growing more moderate, it’s an especially good time to start a regular program of walking. The Arthritis Foundation points out several physical benefits one can gain from walking, for example:

  • Weight control;
  • Lowered risk of stroke;
  • Reduced blood pressure; and
  • Decreased pressure on one’s joints.
  • But that’s not all. Below are a number of mental benefits that the Arthritis Foundation wants us to know we stand to gain from walking:

  • Slowed mental decline — In a large study of women ages 65-plus, those walking 2.5 miles per day had a 17 percent decline in memory over time, compared to a 25 percent decline in those walking less than 0.5 mile per week.
  • Lowered risk of Alzheimer’s disease — In a study of men ages 71 to 93, those walking more than one-fourth mile per day had half the incidence of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, compared to those walking less.
  • Better sleep — In a study of women ages 50 to 75, those taking one-hour daily walks were more likely to relieve insomnia than those not walking.
  • Improved mood state — In a study of depressed patients, walking for 30 minutes per day was found to be more effective than antidepressant medications.
  • An opportunity for soothing meditation — Arthritis Today magazine cites race-walking medalist Carolyn Kortge’s testimonial to the value of daily outdoor walking in managing her arthritis. It helps change her focus from the pain to a meditative frame of mind.
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    Prescription Drugs and Falls

    Thursday, March 18th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    An analysis recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that certain kinds of popularly prescribed medications — such as sedatives and antidepressants — can increase older adults’ risk for falling.

    Analyzed were 22 studies, published from 1996 to 2007, involving more than 79,000 subjects age 60-plus. Three classes of drugs were determined to increase the risk for falling significantly:

  • Sedatives and hypnotics (which may be used as sleep aids);
  • Antidepressants; and
  • Benzodiazepines (including tranquilizers, such as Valium and Xanax).
  • Fall risk was also seen to rise with the use of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin), as well as with medications used in the treatment of psychosis. However, the conditions for which such drugs are typically prescribed may themselves increase fall risk.

    Interviewed by Reuters Health, researcher Dr. Carlo Marra of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, noted that prescription drug use by elderly patients is increasing — and, in fact, that a recent study found one in seven people over the age of 80 to have filled an antidepressant prescription. He added that older adults using any of the medications linked with a heightened risk for falls should discuss the matter with their physician and their


    Fit to Drive?

    Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    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 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!