Posts Tagged ‘longevity’

Fitness Beyond 50

Friday, April 20th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

The American Senior Fitness Association recently received a practical and easy-to-read soft-cover book (copyright 2012) from the Langdon Street Press.Its publisher has this to say about the new release Fitness Beyond 50: Turn Back the Clock:

"As resolve in our well-intentioned habit changes starts to fade, we might take a day off from the gym, have that late night slice of pizza, or return to relying on our cup of morning joe to get the day started. But author Harry Gaines reminds us that getting in shape, and staying that way, is not just a New Year’s resolution, it’s a booster shot to our quality of life, especially for those of us over 50.

"Fitness Beyond 50: Turn Back the Clock is the definitive baby boomer’s guide to fitness covering strength training, aerobics, and healthy eating, as well as the power of support groups, and the impact that exercise has on the brain. Written in a conversational style, Gaines combines easy-to-follow fitness plans and current research with over 125 real-life motivational anecdotes aimed at the quickly expanding ‘young seniors’ market.

"Here’s what the experts are saying about Fitness Beyond 50:

At last, a really helpful, easy-to-use guide to a healthy lifestyle for those if us past the ‘middle years.’ It provides motivation, education and behaviors to enhance lifestyle changes in a fun and very engaging format. I couldn’t put it down! — Caroline Nielsen, PhD, Former Chair and Emeritus Professor, Graduate Program in Allied Health, University of Connecticut

"’This book is not just a how-to,’ says Gaines, ‘it is first and foremost a why-to, and that’s what makes it different. Older adults need the powerful combination of structure, science, motivation, and support in order to meet their fitness goals. Many of the broader exercise books out there are not designed with them in mind. The idea with Fitness Beyond 50 is that it’s focused on health and overall fitness that is attainable at any age.’

"Fitness Beyond 50: Turn Back the Clock is distributed by Itasca Books and is available through Ingram and Baker & Taylor. For more information, click here.

"Harry Gaines writes for fitness website dotFIT and the Commons Club Fitness Center Newsletter in Bonita Springs, FL. When he’s not writing, he’s logging one of his 5,000 plus miles cycling in SW Florida or Bucks County, PA."


The Curious Upside of Growing Older

Monday, October 31st, 2011 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

SFA member Caroline Anaya, MS, is someone you would love to know and call a friend! Earlier this year she produced a wise and witty book that shares her can-do insights about the experience of growing older. It has already received 5-Star reader-reviews on Amazon.

Describing Caroline’s book, the Editor’s Choice review in Caregiver Solutions magazine of Canada said it best:

"A 78-year-old fitness professional, Caroline Anaya, wrote and self-published this quirky and optimistic outlook on aging to encourage seniors to get fit both physically and mentally. The Curious Upside of Growing Older reveals seven ‘keys’ to ‘embrace’ life: thinking, eating and sleeping well, knowing yourself, staying active, being social and stimulating the brain. The relaxed, personal style and large print make this book straightforward and accessible."

The editors here at Experience! couldn’t agree more. In addition, we’d like to suggest to our readers that The Curious Upside of Growing Older would make a fine, inspirational gift for your "special someones" during the upcoming holiday season. For ordering information, click on


Exercise Cuts Older Adult Health Costs

Friday, May 6th, 2011 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

While most senior health-fitness professionals already advocate insurance coverage of structured physical exercise programming for older adults, the following news release strongly reinforces that position:

Structured exercise and physical activity programs should be covered by insurance as a way to promote health and reduce health care costs, especially among high health-risk populations such as those who have diabetes.

So says Marco Pahor, M.D., director of the University of Florida Institute on Aging, in an editorial Wednesday, May 4, in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Pahor’s paper accompanies an analysis of multiple clinical trials that examined the effect of exercise and physical activity on the control of blood glucose levels.

“Cumulative work over the past few decades provides solid evidence for public policymakers to consider structured physical activity and exercise programs as worthy of insurance reimbursement,” Pahor said.

A host of studies have linked exercise programs with improved health measures related to blood pressure, lipid levels — including cholesterol and triglycerides — cardiovascular events, cognition, physical performance, premature death and quality of life. People who take part in programs that contain both aerobic and resistance training are likely to get the greatest benefit, compared with people who do only resistance exercises.

The study that Pahor’s editorial accompanied, conducted by Daniel Umpierre, M.Sc., of the Hospital de Clinicas de Porto Alegre, Brazil, and colleagues, compared the association between physical activity advice and structured exercise programs, respectively, and markers of diabetes.

Analyses of interventions to promote physical exercise in adults have found that compared with no intervention, exercise programs are cost-effective and have the potential to improve survival rates and health-related quality of life.

Some insurance providers already include a fitness benefit for members, such as monthly membership at certain fitness centers or access to personal trainers or exercise classes at reduced cost. Use of such health plan-sponsored club benefits by older adults has been linked to slower increases in total health care costs.

In one study, older adults who visited a health club two or more times a week over two years incurred $1,252 less in health care costs in the second year than those who visited a health club less than once a week. Programs among people with lower incomes can also pay off, because people in that group are otherwise more likely to forego health-promoting physical activity because of economic constraints or safety concerns.

“People are willing to invest in improved health, but if you have a fixed amount of resources then you want to choose where you get the most health for the dollar,” said Erik Groessl, an assistant professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego, and director of the UCSD Health Services Research Center. Groessl was not involved in the current analysis.

Group training or walking programs, for example, can be cost-effective, sustainable forms of physical activity that don’t require expensive health care professionals or equipment. But more costly interventions that yield dramatic results might also be worth the expense.

With respect to type 2 diabetes, Medicare reimburses for approved self-management education and medical nutrition therapy programs. But no specific reimbursement is given for any physical activity or exercise program, despite evidence that such programs can help improve health and cut costs.

Questions remain as to what format reimbursable exercise and physical activity programs should take, what population group should be targeted, and at what stage of life or health status would a lifestyle intervention be most cost-effective to implement.

Various studies, including the UF Institute on Aging Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders, or LIFE study, are aimed at answering those questions through randomized controlled trials that can provide data about the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of structured activity programs with respect to a range of health outcomes. Funded by the National Institute on Aging, the LIFE study is the largest of its kind to examine physical activity and health education as a way to prevent mobility disability among older adults, and accounts for the largest federal award to the University of Florida.

The institute will break ground on May 26 for a 40,000-square-foot complex within UF’s new $45 million, 120,000-square-foot Clinical and Translational Research Building, which will serve as headquarters for this research and others aimed at speeding scientific discoveries to patients.

“There is a lot of evidence that physical activity works, and I think it’s time to start putting it into practice more widely,” Groessl said.


Listen to the Quiet Protein

Friday, May 6th, 2011 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

As noted in the article below, lung cancer strikes both cigarette smokers and nonsmokers. For new hope in the fight against this form of cancer, read on:

When a movie character says, “It’s too quiet,” that’s usually a sign something bad may happen.

Now, University of Florida researchers have discovered that when variations of a certain protein in our cells are too quiet, it may add to the risk that someone will develop lung cancer. When scientists restored the protein to its normal, active self, its cancer-inhibiting properties reappeared.

These discoveries, published in two reports in the online version of Oncogene, provide evidence that drugs can potentially suppress tumor growth by restoring cellular processes rather than inhibiting cancer-causing genes known as oncogenes.

“It’s a well-accepted fact that you can inhibit things, particularly oncogenes,
that drive cancer. Oncogenes are the cancer’s gas pedal,” said principal investigator David Reisman, M.D., Ph.D., a UF associate professor of medicine and a member of the UF Shands Cancer Center. “What we’ve done is demonstrate the feasibility of reconstituting the cancer brake.”

The protein, known as Brahma, or BRM, is involved in the regulation of cellular functions like gene expression, DNA repair, cell adhesion and telling cells whether to divide and grow or stop dividing and die. Other studies have found
“silenced” BRM is present in 10 to 20 percent of all solid tumors. Reisman knew from his own research in mouse models that silencing the BRM gene alone did not cause tumor growth, but when carcinogens were introduced, 10 times as many tumors appeared compared with mice with normal BRM expression.

“The gene was not a tumor suppressor in the classical definition but a tumor susceptibility gene, and when the expression is lost, it primes you to other events that potentiate the development of tumors, such as tobacco carcinogens,” Reisman said.

More people die of lung cancer every year than of cancers of the breast, colon, prostate or lymphoma combined, according to the National Cancer Institute. However, only 10 percent of smokers develop lung cancer and as many as 15 percent of those diagnosed with lung cancer have never smoked.

Reisman’s work suggests the presence of two variations within the BRM gene — known as polymorphisms — could potentially be biomarkers for lung cancer and assist doctors in identifying individuals at higher risk, which could lead to more cost-effective screening practices and lifesaving early detection.

Study investigators sequenced the genes of 160 people and learned that roughly 20 percent carry the gene variants. With collaborator Geoffrey Liu, M.D., a research scientist at the Ontario Cancer Institute at the University of Toronto,
the team then verified the presence of the silenced BRM variants in human lung tumors.

Reisman and Lui also conducted case control studies on 1,199 people who were
matched for age, gender and smoking history but in whom 484 individuals had lung cancer and 715 were healthy and cancer free.

“We found these polymorphic sites were greatly enriched in the population that had developed lung cancer,” Reisman said. “The chance that you would develop lung cancer if you had both polymorphic sites was 220 percent higher. Our analysis demonstrated those odds to be independent of smoking history, sex, race and cancer type.”

Reisman’s team also studied whether it would be possible to restore the normal expression of the BRM protein. Certain compounds, called histone deacetylase — or HDAC — inhibitors, had been demonstrated by other researchers to reactivate the BRM gene, but did not restore the normal, cancer-suppressing function of the BRM protein.

By introducing the healthy protein alongside the reactivated gene, the researchers were able to stop the growth of cancer cells. That makes the process a potential target for drug therapies to use in suppressing many tumor types.

“We know there are a lot of genes that are silenced in cancer, and it’s believed that gene silencing is necessary in order for the cancer to grow and thrive. This research demonstrates — and is really the first example of — an approach that’s led to the reactivation of a specific tumor-suppressing gene,” said Aubrey Thompson, Ph.D., a professor of cancer biology at Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center in Jacksonville, Fla., who was not involved in the research.

“That’s a really big deal,” he said. “It’s an approach that is widely applicable to a lot of genes and a lot of different types of cancer. I think it’s going to be met with a great deal of enthusiasm and interest from researchers in human cancer therapy.”


Dare to Understand and Ask for Palliative Care

Friday, November 19th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Today we are pleased to present the following article by Terry F. Katz, MD. Dr. Katz is medical director of The Center for Healthy Living in Teaneck, New Jersey. An internist specializing in the care of the elderly, Dr. Katz is associated with PMR, the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Center, PA, of Englewood, New Jersey. PMR is devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of medical problems related to pain and disability, and its multidisciplinary treatment teams provide comprehensive care for sports, spine, orthopedic, and neuromuscular conditions. For more information, click on

The primary purpose of palliative care is to alleviate suffering and enhance the quality of life. The concept of medical palliation in its inception conjured up images of dying patients with a similar set of physical symptoms that required relief. As older people began living longer with incurable chronic disease, the concept of palliative care took on a broader meaning. Palliative care now includes providing care that addresses the physical, emotional, cultural, and spiritual issues that affect a patient and their family during the final phase of life. This stage may last days to weeks when associated with an acute event, or may last months to years as in chronic illness with progressive debility.

Providing quality palliative care requires a multifaceted approach that achieves best results when a team of nurses, social workers, physical therapists, religious counselors, and other therapists supply care under the supervision of a physician team leader. The expertise and involvement by all these individuals is important to identify and address the "whole person." Members of the palliative care team conduct their own evaluations over a period of time talking to the patient, family, and care providers to obtain the complete picture. The evaluation will elucidate team members as to social needs such as financial concerns, need for closeness, care-giving needs, and access to care; spiritual needs such as the degree of distress, role of spirituality, and the extent to which one has settled relationships; medical needs such as the role of further diagnostic evaluation and treatment of physical and mental symptoms; and finally therapeutic issues that illuminate the goals of care.

The evaluation is a constant process. Goals of care and treatment priorities shift with increasing disease burden, but treating physical symptoms is always paramount. Symptom management includes nondrug interventions such as physical therapy modalities and acupuncture, and pharmacological management with both traditional and alternative choices. Typically treatment is a combination that minimizes potential adverse reactions. After therapy is initiated, regular patient follow-up is important to assess relief of symptoms, effect of treatment on abilities to maintain usual activities, and measure whether the identified goals are being met.

The concept of a "good death" is central to the modern palliative care movement, but watching the diminishing physical capabilities and the death of someone close is never easy. The truth is: no one can escape the experience. We all feel the fragility of life and worry about our own future end-of-life experience. Embracing palliative care allows better management of symptoms and prevents unnecessary suffering for the patient, bolsters the family and care-givers with skills to adapt to the transitions and face the losses, and, in creating a more positive outlook on end-of-life care, can help so many groups of people.


Facing Mortality Without Fear

Friday, November 19th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

SFA author Jim Evans is a 42-year veteran of the health and fitness industry and an internationally recognized senior fitness consultant. Today he discusses natural concerns that may arise with advancing age.

DEAR JIM: I have managed to outlive most of my friends and three wives to make it to age 92, and I feel pretty good for my age. I don’t drink or smoke, and I try to stay physically active. Still, I can’t help thinking about dying. I have seen so many of my friends expire after lingering for months with cancer, heart problems, Alzheimer’s disease, and other conditions, and I have to admit that it scares me to think that it could happen to me too — and the likelihood becomes greater with every passing year. Am I just being paranoid?


DEAR SCARED: No, you’re not being paranoid. The thought of dying becomes more commonplace as we get older and have a greater sense of our own mortality. And, as many of our friends and loved ones pass on, we think about it more often. However, you seem to be living a healthy lifestyle which has probably contributed to your longevity and could sustain you for years to come.

To put your mind more at ease, you might be surprised to know that most people in their eighties, nineties, and above are often healthier than those 20 years younger. Many medical afflictions usually happen to people in their sixties and seventies. Those who have reached their eighties and nineties — like you — are "survivors" who often carry on for years in comparative health.

With all of the current concern about Medicare, most people are not aware that the average Medicare bill for someone who dies by age 70 is three times greater than for someone who lives to be 90. In fact, the medical cost during the last two years of life — which are usually the most expensive — is typically just $8,300 for someone who dies at age 90 compared to $22,600 at age 70. It won’t be the centenarians who stretch the limits of Medicare but, rather, it will be the baby boomers turning 65!

It is not easy to put the thought of death on the back burner when so many of your peers are already deceased, but dwelling on it will not add years to your life either. You have been given a great gift to live so long, so continue to take good care of yourself and enjoy each and every day. Your healthy lifestyle has seen you through the years and should continue to serve you in good stead. Remember, it is not how long you live that counts but the quality of those years. With more and more people living longer, you are in good company.


As Autumn Gives Way to Winter

Friday, November 19th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

The English poet and philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge(1772-1834), along with his close friend William Wordsworth, was a founder of the English Romantic Movement. Well known for his poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Coleridge also shared his thoughts on the changing seasons of life:

"The one red leaf, the last of its clan,

That dances as often as dance it can,

Hanging so light, and hanging so high,

On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky."

– Samuel Taylor Coleridge


Although they have a higher prevalence of disease than their English counterparts, older Americans live as long or longer

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

American Senior Fitness Association Researchers have found that, although they have a higher prevalence of disease than their English counterparts, older Americans live as long or longer. The study found Americans have higher rates of diabetes, high-blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack, stroke, chronic lung diseases and cancer. Yet, Americans 55 – 64 lived as long as the English and those 65 and over lived even longer. The studies co-author, James P. Smith, noted “that at least in terms of survival at older ages with chronic disease, the medical system in the United States may be better than the system in England.” Co-author James Banks stated that “the United States’ health problem is not fundamentally a health care or insurance problem, at least at older ages. It is a problem of excess illness and the solution to that problem may lie outside the health care delivery system. The solution may be to alter lifestyles or other behaviors.” Click below for a report from ScienceDaily.


What Is “Old Age”?

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

When exactly does old age begin? Health care workers, fitness professionals, and laypersons alike might wish to nail down the answer, but it isn’t as simple as counting birthdays. Whereas many older adults may begin referring to themselves as "seniors" as they reach retirement age, their medical status, physical fitness level, psychological health, and social characteristics vary widely from one individual to the next.

This special issue of Experience! delves into the perplexing matter of defining old age. All of the books listed in the discussion below are published by Human Kinetics. The sources named are experts and their works are recommended by the American Senior Fitness Association (SFA)


Take One – Chronological, Biological and Functional Age

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

One respected publication that addresses this complex question is the textbook Physical Activity Instruction of Older Adults (2005) in which SFA president Janie Clark wrote the chapter "Designing and Managing Group Conditioning Classes." In a chapter entitled "The Field of Gerokinesiology," co-editors C. Jessie Jones and Debra J. Rose explain the limited nature of relying solely on chronological years to describe old age (for example: young-old 65-74; middle-old 75-84; old-old 85-99; and oldest-old 100-plus). There is simply too much diversity within numerical age categories to form definitive profiles. Jones and Rose then discuss several other indicators of aging, including two we will briefly outline here: biological aging and functional age.

Also called primary aging, biological aging concerns a number of processes in the human body that, over time, result in reduced adaptability, disease, physical and functional declines, disability, and ultimately death. Numerous theories of biological aging — for example: genetic theories which emphasize heredity; damage theories which stress the long-term build-up of cell damage; and other theories — are presently under scientific investigation and debate.

Functional age refers to an individual’s functional fitness level, compared to others of his or her same chronological age and sex (for example: how much and what types of physical activity can one successfully perform? what is the status of one’s cardiovascular system? one’s musculoskeletal system? what are an individual’s capacities and/or limitations in terms of carrying out activities of daily living?). As a good example of gauging functional fitness, Jones and Rose cite influential researcher Waneen W. Spirduso’s well-known Hierarchy of Physical Function. Her publication Physical Dimensions of Aging (1995) separates physical function into five categories in descending order: physically elite; physically fit; physically independent; physically frail; and physically dependent. A second edition of Physical Dimensions of Aging was published in 2005.