Posts Tagged ‘low impact’

Walking Away Menopause’s Downside

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

Canadian researchers placed sedentary, moderately obese women who were recently post-menopausal or soon approaching menopause on a 16-week walking program. Their results, published in the journal Menopause and reported by Reuters Health, suggest that walking at a comfortable pace for 45 minutes per day, three days per week, can ameliorate some of the cares associated with menopause. Researchers noted that the 45-minute total can be accumulated by taking shorter walks during the course of a day.

Both groups of women (pre- and post-menopausal) lost weight after 16 weeks. The pre-menopausal group lost more pounds and more fat mass, while the post-menopausal group enjoyed a greater reduction in waist size and benefited from an increase in lean mass.

Both groups also improved in ratings of well-being. The pre-menopausal group made greater strides in vitality, social functioning, and overall physical activity. The post-menopausal group excelled in terms of general health, emotional/mental health, everyday physical functioning, and the reduction of bodily pain.


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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    Impact Level

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

    Conventional wisdom long held that low impact training helps spare the joints of mid-life and older adult exercisers. In recent times, however, impact forces have been advised for good bone health in some sectors of the literature. On the pro-impact side, there are inconsistencies among the recommendations of influential guideline-setting agencies, ranging from: (1) moderate to high intensity, incorporating jumping; to (2) medium impact, such as intermittent jogging or step aerobics; to (3) high impact for osteoporosis prevention, but low impact for its management.

    Now comes a study that brings the question full circle. Recently presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, the investigation involved 100 male and 136 female subjects, ages 45 to 55, of normal weight and without symptoms of osteoarthritis. Researchers examined MRI scans of their knees and evaluated the results in relation to their physical activity patterns. The scientists concluded that high impact weight-bearing activities, like running and jumping, are risky for the health of knee cartilage in aging persons, whereas low impact activities, like cycling and swimming, may protect healthy knee cartilage from becoming diseased.

    Is there a conflict between osteoporosis prevention and osteoarthritis prevention? While the jury is still out on the ideal level and frequency of impact in mature adult exercise training, prudence calls for caution, moderation and highly individualized programming, including activity-specific medical clearance to participate. Look for much more research and clarification to emerge in this important topic area in the future.