Posts Tagged ‘physical activities’

The CDC has tips for “Making Physical Activity a Part of an Older Adult’s Life”

Monday, October 4th, 2010

The CDC’s “Physical Activity for Everyone” includes ideas for “Making Physical Activity a Part of an Older Adult’s Life.” This section of the program discusses how to include exercise in your daily life even if you have physical limitations or chronic conditions. It also includes “case studies” showing how some older adults are meeting the CDC physical activity guidelines. Click below to visit the CDC site.







EACPR statement emphasizes the importance of medical screening for older adults beginning a high intensity exercise regimen

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

EACPR, a European health organization, has released a “position stand” emphasizing the importance of medical screening for older adults prior to beginning a high intensity exercise regimen. The statement from the European Association of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation noted that, although regular aerobic exercise is associated with a reduced risk of coronary events in middle-aged individuals, “moderate and vigorous physical exertion is associated with an increased risk for cardiac events, including sudden cardiac death, in individuals harbouring cardiovascular disease.” Click below for a brief overview from PubMed or here for a PDF copy of the EACPR document.



Pounds and Your Portfolio

Friday, September 17th, 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 explores the relationship between healthy lifestyle choices and retirement security.

DEAR JIM: My wife and I just returned from a meeting with our financial advisor, and we were surprised when he suggested that we both should lose weight, exercise more and take better care of ourselves. At first we were offended and thought perhaps he was overstepping his bounds, but after he explained himself it began to make sense. We hadn’t thought of it before, but our health affects the cost of our life insurance, health insurance and even our long-term care insurance — all of which are major factors in our retirement planning. Are other financial advisors offering the same kind of advice or is ours just ahead of the curve? ENLIGHTENED IN ESCONDIDO

DEAR ENLIGHTENED: Your advisor is definitely ahead of the curve — not necessarily because he is smarter than the rest but because he had the courage to bring up the subject of your lifestyle in the first place. I’m sure you can understand why some advisors might be reluctant to talk about such a personal issue for fear of losing a client. After all, it can be a sensitive subject to many clients who are expecting only to discuss the usual "black and white" facts and figures of retirement planning and are suddenly thrust into reconciling their lifestyle with their long-term retirement goals.

But it makes sense, doesn’t it? Fortunately, it is happening with more frequency. "In my experience, it happens more often than not anymore," says San Diego’s Michael Howland, a certified public accountant in private practice since 1991.

"I usually start out discussing, in general, how long my clients plan on living and how they plan on getting there," says Howland. "I don’t start out discussing lifestyle changes, but we talk about such things as:

  • How long do they expect to live?
  • How do they foresee their lifestyle after retirement?
  • How long do they expect to work?
  • How have they planned for their later years?
  • How do they expect to support their future lifestyle?
  • How much do they project their future lifestyle might cost?
  • "But then I start getting more specific," he continues:

  • Do they intend to live fast, die young, or plan life as a marathon?
  • Do we calculate in assisted living, long-term care, and/or children support?
  • Do their lifestyle, work, savings, and retirement objectives meet realistic expectations?
  • "I’ve never thought of it as personal," explains Howland. "It has always been simply a question of how long they expect their machine — in this case, their body — to keep working. If they find that uncomfortable, sometimes I back off, sometimes I don’t. With couples, I usually find one partner grateful for the discussion and one apprehensive. I have never had anyone become angry or indignant, but I probably wouldn’t push that hard unless I know them well."

    "Basically it’s a risk/reward decision," says Howland. "If they have an unhealthy lifestyle and expect to live a long life and haven’t planned on long-term care, we need to talk."

    In short, your health should be an integral part of your financial planning for retirement, and to ignore it is foolish and unrealistic. While unexpected illnesses and tragedies can happen to anyone — even those with a healthy lifestyle — many of the causes of disability and mortality in this country are preventable (e.g., heart disease, smoking, etc.). Your weight, your cholesterol, your blood pressure, your body mass index (BMI), your resting heart rate — all of these things and more should be factors in your planning. Your financial advisor is "right on the money" on this one — literally.


    Cardiac Patients Help Out Lucky Shelter Dogs

    Thursday, July 1st, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    Cardiac Friends is an outstanding program under way in Waukesha, Wisconsin, that enlists heart patients as volunteers to take dogs, who are housed at a local shelter, on regular walks healthful for both the human and canine participants. As reported by HealthDay News, the program is a partnership between the county’s Humane Animal Welfare Society and ProHealth Care (PHC), involving medically approved cardiac patients of PHC’s Waukesha Memorial Hospital.

    These dog walkers have undergone procedures such as angioplasty, stent implantation and open heart surgery. Regular exercise with their canine companions lowers their risk for another cardiac event, helps control cholesterol levels, reduces blood pressure, helps counter depression and provides an opportunity to be needed and to make a difference.

    From a shelter dog’s point of view, getting out of the kennel often to enjoy some physical recreation with a friendly, attentive visitor helps the animal stay mentally and physically fit while waiting for his or her new "forever home."

    At this time, all of the patient-volunteers in the Cardiac Friends program (now approximately one year old) are men in their seventies. They visit the shelter three times per week, for an hour or longer, to get outdoors with their canine buddies, play fetch and walk along an enticing foot-path through an adjacent meadow.

    Shelter coordinator Sara Falk told HealthDay News that the Cardiac Friends volunteers are among her favorites thanks to their reliability and since "… they are taking longer walks than a lot of the other walkers because they have fitness in mind."


    Knowledge for Group Fitness Instructors

    Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    A sample older adult workout designed by Janie Clark, president of the American Senior Fitness Association (SFA), appears in the new edition of the textbook Fitness: Theory & Practice, which is published by the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA).

    This fifth edition of the book (2010) comes in hardcover and contains 519 pages. Not intended for senior fitness professionals only, it provides a comprehensive resource for group instructors of clients in all age ranges. It features an excellent chapter on older adult fitness written by Laura Gladwin, M.S., which includes Clark’s sub-chapter: a basic workout routine illustrated with photographs of an older adult exercise participant.

    Clark’s work has appeared in every edition of the textbook. For more information about Fitness: Theory & Practice, click on


    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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    Strength Training Breakthrough

    Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    Traditionally speaking, concentric — as opposed to eccentric — muscle contractions have been emphasized in senior physical fitness programs. Now comes a new training system pioneered at the University of Florida (UF) strength science lab that calls such conventional wisdom into question. Undoubtedly the UF NeGator regimen, which features intense eccentric muscle conditioning, will be of interest to Olympic contenders and other young athletes. However, the UF Health Newsnet report shown below also highlights a 53-year-old fitness participant’s successful NeGator experience, which may herald positive practical applications for older adult non-athletes. Senior exercisers should obtain medical approval specific to the type of training they wish to undertake. The UF Health Science Center is the most comprehensive academic health center in the Southeast US. Following is the facility’s news release on its time-saving NeGator strength training system:

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Exercising one hour a week and getting the same results as traditional strength training might sound unreal, but University of Florida orthopedics researchers have developed a system that they say makes it possible. It’s based on a training principle that Winter Olympics gold medal winner Bode Miller has used in preparing for competition. Called NeGator, it uses eccentric — or negative — resistance training, which capitalizes on the fact that the human body can support and lower weights that are too heavy to lift.

    “So there’s this puzzle of ‘how do I lower something I can’t lift?’” said Michael Mac Millan, M.D., chief of spine surgery at University of Florida College of Medicine and a member of the UF Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Institute. “Well, it turns out that you need a little help.”

    NeGator is there to lend a hand. Through a system of motors, pulleys, cams and sensors it adds weight when a person is performing a lowering motion, and removes that weight when the person is lifting. As a result, the body starts seeing loads, resistance and forces that it doesn’t normally see, Mac Millan said. “It responds by growth and development so we really tap into an unutilized potential.”

    The researchers, who work out of UF’s strength science lab, use medical levels of specificity to determine the maximum effective dose of strength training each individual can safely and effectively manage during a full body workout. “You want to go to complete muscular exhaustion in one set,” said fitness director Trevor Barone, M.S. “It’s one set, maximum effort.”

    The team has distilled down to what a person needs to do to get the benefit of strength training while doing as few exercises as possible in as little time as possible as infrequently as possible. For each person, they figure out the exercise intensity from which the body can recover in a week. “So you only have to — and you only should — work out once a week in order to get the right stimulus and the right recovery,” Mac Millan said.

    That’s just fine with Jean Michelson, 53, who used to exercise “on and off” with traditional resistance training before starting her training on the patented NeGator system with Barone. The NeGator team hopes more people like Michelson will come in to the strength science lab to experience what it is like to train with NeGator. The technology has been licensed by UF and the researchers.

    Now Michelson, a dietitian, said she’s not so bored with the squats, pull downs, rows and presses. And after a few months of training, she’s now lifting twice the amount of weight she could when she began her training program. “I like it because I really feel like I’m much stronger when I’m done — I couldn’t squat when I started,” she said. “And it’s one day a week and I get good coaching.” She recovers from her workouts more quickly than in the past, and has an easier time with day to day activities such as getting in and out of a car, she said.

    Increasingly researchers and clinicians recognize that strength training is important for people, especially as they age, to enhance quality of life and maintain physical independence. “If you don’t have adequate muscular support you’re going to be injured more, you’re going to do less, your mobility is going to be decreased,” Mac Millan said. He and colleagues spent more than two decades laying the scientific groundwork and developing the processes and systems by which NeGator works.

    Published research from the team shows that so-called eccentric training may protect the hamstrings from injury, and that it is more effective than traditional resistance training at stimulating the body to produce growth hormone and testosterone. The lab has submitted medical research grant proposals to the National Institutes of Health, and is conducting rehabilitation studies on how overuse and sports injuries respond to training with NeGator. Users are already being monitored as part of a longitudinal study. UF’s rugby, lacrosse and Ultimate Frisbee teams rely on the NeGator team for help meeting their training needs in the limited workout time they have.


    Household Activities Add Up

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

    Paul Donohue, MD, writes a newspaper column named "To Your Good Health" which is published byThe News-Journal of Daytona Beach, Florida. Recently he addressed a question from an 89-year-old man and his 86-year-old wife. For them, running and jogging are not possible and even walking is becoming more difficult. However, both are still able to keep busy around their home and yard. The following information comes from Dr. Donohue’s response:

    In advanced age, exercise does need to be approached with prudent caution, which includes obtaining physician approval to participate. Even so, many forms of physical activity may be beneficial.

    One definition of exercise includes any activity that burns three to six times the number of calories that are spent while sitting quietly. On average, we burn 1.2 calories per minute when at rest (or about 70 calories per hour). How do housework and yardwork stack up when measured against that criterion? Many such tasks approach or exceed three times the resting calorie burn, as follows:

  • Typical general housekeeping chores — 4.8 calories per minute
  • Vacuuming — 3.2
  • Mopping floors — 4.2
  • Scrubbing floors — 7.3
  • Grocery shopping — 4.0
  • Preparing meals — 3.2
  • Raking leaves — 4.5
  • Mowing grass (push lawn mower) — 8.1
  • Exercise should raise one’s heart rate to a faster beat as compared to heart rate at rest. Ideally, this increased rate will be sustained for about 10 minutes at a time. However, if 10-minute bouts are not well-tolerated, then people should simply do what they can, with the goal of gradually building up to longer periods of activity. Eventually, total daily activity should reach 30 minutes, and that can be divided into three 10-minute sessions spaced out over the course of the day.