Posts Tagged ‘resource’

Celebrate Summer with Savings

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

SFA is welcoming the arrival of summer with our annual seasonal savings. Until July 12, 2010 you can save on SFA’s award-winning professional education programs. SFA members can take advantage of our regular SFA member discount and extra summer savings. Simply click here to visit our on-line order center or call SFA at 888-689-6791 to order your program. Plus, if you order by Monday, July 5, SFA will pay the shipping!

Note: If you plan to order online, be sure to log in to receive your member discount.

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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."

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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 http://www.afaa.com/604.afa.

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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)

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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.

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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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    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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