Posts Tagged ‘longevity’

Take Two – Psychological and Social Age

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

Another excellent resource on the topic is Exercise for Older Adults: ACE’s Guide for Fitness Professionals (second edition, 2005) in which Janie Clark wrote the chapter "Older Adult Exercise Techniques." Edited by Cedric X. Bryant and Daniel J. Green of the American Council on Exercise, this book includes an especially pertinent chapter entitled "Physiology of Aging and Exercise" written by Wojtek J. Chodzko-Zajko. It explores the ideas discussed above and provides particularly interesting sections on psychological age and social age.

Psychological age refers to a person’s mental or cognitive functioning and includes factors such as memory, learning, and self-esteem. Ongoing research suggests that while some older individuals exhibit the psychological adjustments characteristic of their chronological age, others act psychologically younger or older than their peers.

Social age has to do with the concept that society imposes a strong influence on what is perceived to be appropriate or inappropriate behaviors for persons within specific chronological age groups. As an example, Chodzko-Zajko notes that some older adults view public physical activity as undignified, while others embrace it. Contemporary researchers want to know whether society’s expectations might be conditioning people to become less active with age and, therefore, less healthy. The World Health Organization supports a more dynamic approach to aging in which older adults are encouraged to demonstrate higher levels of activity.

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Take Three – Personal Independence Versus Skilled Care Needs

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

In their publication Fitness Professional’s Handbook (fifth edition, 2007), co-authors Edward T. Howley and B. Don Franks credit distinguished researcher Roy J. Shephard for the development of a different classification system that links chronological age to the characteristics typical in large aging populations. It can be briefly summarized as follows:

  • Middle age (40-65) — 10-30 percent decline in biological functions;
  • Old age or young old age (65-75) — additional losses of function;
  • Very old age (75-85) — considerable impairment of function but can maintain independence;
  • Oldest old age (over 85) — nursing care or institutionalization often needed.
  • Howley, Franks, and Shephard deeply respect the complications involved in attempting to define or identify specific stages of the aging process. The Fitness Professional’s Handbook emphasizes that health-fitness personnel must be alert to the differences among their older adult physical activity participants.

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    Take Four – Eugeric Versus Pathogeric Aging

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

    In their book Physiology of Exercise and Healthy Aging (2008), co-authors Albert W. Taylor and Michel J. Johnson list these "Age Categories for Seniors": middle age 45-64; young old 65-74; old 75-84; old old 85-99; and oldest old 100-plus. They further break down senescence (the gradual age-related decline in cell and body functioning that eventually leads to the death of an organism) into the following classifications: elderly 65-74; older elderly 74-84; and very old 85-plus.

    However, like all of the other authors, researchers, and organizations named above, their major focus is not on age numbers. Taylor and Johnson make an important distinction between eugeric aging (changes that will inevitably happen to everyone) and pathogeric aging (pathological changes that are not predestined aspects of aging). They point out that disuse and a progressive decrease in physical activity level over time can significantly contribute to pathogeric aging.

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    Take Five – Closing Thoughts

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

    Although the numerous authorities referenced in this special issue of Experience! may approach the challenges of quantifying and describing the aging process from various angles, a close look at their works reveals their positions to be complementary. All are aware that an over-emphasis on chronological age could inaccurately stereotype people according to the number of years they have lived.

    "These kinds of complexities illustrate to a large degree why SFA has always stressed the importance of individualization in older adult fitness programming," says Janie Clark. "This includes obtaining medical clearance for exercise and seeking relevant input from the client’s health care professional. The client’s lifestyle, physical activity history, and personal interests must be taken into account. On another practical front, easy-to-administer functional fitness testing methods can be implemented in the workplace to help determine functional status, plan appropriate programming, and track the progress of senior physical fitness participants."

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    Old Age Is…

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

    To conclude today’s issue with a light take on a serious subject, we reprint a favorite quotation. Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, "Old age is always fifteen years older than I am."

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    Take Heart with “Fitgevity”

    Saturday, February 20th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    SFA member Rudy Rich is spreading the word about enjoyable, productive aging. "It’s not just about long life or longevity; it’s about a long, fit life, or fitgevity," he explains in his bookFitgevity Lifestyle. An experienced personal trainer in Newport Beach, California, Rudy also holds advanced degrees in English. His illustrated 246-page soft-cover book neatly combines those areas of expertise. It provides interesting historical context regarding the aging process and discusses timely health and fitness issues in a reader-friendly way. Rudy also relates the inspiring personal stories of several individuals who exemplify the fitgevity lifestyle. Highly motivational, Fitgevity Lifestyle would be a fine gift for loved ones who recently made fitness-related New Year’s resolutions — as well as for already-avid physical fitness fans. For more information, click on www.fitgevitylifestyle.com.

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