Posts Tagged ‘mobility’

It’s a Fine Line!

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Line-walking can be an enjoyable and useful dynamic balance activity in both group-class and personal training settings. Before conducting your exercise session, use chalk or tape to mark a straight line on the floor. Let space availability and participant functional level be your guides in setting the length of the line.

Have participants try to stay on the line while walking forward. For safety and balance-promotion reasons, participants should look ahead — not down at their feet — while walking. Permit them to slow down their walking speed, as needed, for this exercise. Also, be sure that each individual has sufficient space to use his or her arms to help maintain balance if necessary.

Over time as participants improve at performing this activity, progression can be achieved by gradually lengthening the line that is to be walked. Of course, with continued practice, participants may naturally increase their rate of speed within sensible limits as well. Just remember, safety first.

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Boost Lower Body Strength

Friday, September 30th, 2011 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

This easy-to-learn buttocks exercise, which also works the legs, can help older adult fitness participants increase lower extremity strength, an important factor in preserving mobility and personal independence. Stand behind a sturdy straight-backed chair, placing both hands on top of the chair’s back. Your feet should be a comfortable distance apart (about shoulder width). Bend as if to lower your buttocks onto the seat of an imaginary chair directly behind you. This will involve pushing the buttocks backward somewhat while bending. Do not drop the buttocks below knee level. Return to starting position and repeat. Gradually build up to performing approximately 12 repetitions. One added advantage of implementing this version of the squat is that it includes balance support.

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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 ulysses@ulyssespress.com, or
  • Write to Ulysses Press, P.O. Box 3440, Berkeley CA 94703.
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    A new study shows that even healthy, fit older adults have a “high degree of inactivity”

    Monday, December 13th, 2010

    A new study shows that even healthy, fit older adults have a “high degree of inactivity.” As part of the UK’s New Dynamics of Ageing Programme, the study was intended to help “establish a reliable mobility profile of the oldest-old members of society.” Lead researcher, Dr. Lynn McInnes of Northumbria University, said that “Being able to stay mobile is crucial to older people’s wellbeing, as loss of mobility means the loss of so many other things from their lives such as the ability to go shopping, meet friends and pursue hobbies and interests.” Click below for a report from the Economic and Social Research Council.

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    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.

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    Chronic Pain and Falls

    Saturday, January 16th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    Recent research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has connected some dots between chronic pain and falls, showing a strong association that heretofore has been underestimated.

    In their report, the lead researcher Suzanne Leveille and her colleagues wrote: "Pain contributes to functional decline and muscle weakness, and is associated with mobility limitations that could predispose to fall." Their findings suggest that instead of simply viewing chronic pain as an unpleasant aspect of the aging process, people should acknowledge it as a serious risk factor for falls.

    The authors of the study referred to several ways by which pain might contribute to falling:

  • The neuromuscular effects of pain may lead to weakness of the leg muscles;
  • One’s neuromuscular responses to a loss of balance may be slowed;
  • Altering one’s gait in an effort to diminish the pain may cause balance problems;
  • Chronic pain may constitute a major distraction, leaving one less alert to everyday hazards.
  • Approximately 750 subjects, ages 70-plus, took part in the study. They reported any pain they experienced and maintained a record of every fall they sustained. One thousand twenty-nine falls occurred over the 18-month follow-up period, with slightly more than half the subjects reporting at least one incident. The following results link chronic pain to an increased risk for falls:

  • At baseline, 24 percent of participants reported chronic pain in one joint; 40 percent in more than one joint. Those with pain in more than one joint were more likely to fall.
  • Persons with severe pain or pain that reduced their ability to perform ADLs (activities of daily living) were more likely to fall.
  • Persons who suffered from pain during any given month were more likely to endure a fall during the following month. While this association applied to all pain, it was particularly strong with regard to severe pain (77 percent increased risk).
  • Leveille recommends that older adults and their physicians discuss the connection between pain and falls with the goal of developing a personalized fall prevention plan, according to a report on the study by HealthDay. For many individuals, effective pain management might play an important role in decreasing the risk for falling.

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