Topic: Functional Fitness

Specialties

Thursday, March 24th, 2011 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Recent comments on the Brain Fitness for Older Adults professional education program:

  • "I could not put the materials back down because it was so fascinating. I loved the video. Very informative." Margaret, Tennessee
  • "I liked the suggested plans for brain fitness projects, and covering just enough historical and physiological content. Good mix of reading and video content. Very good program." Lori, Virginia
  • "I liked the variety of material — practical and theoretical. The references were excellent, and the additional resources were helpful." Suzanne, Oklahoma
  • "Material presented well. Amount of material is a bit overwhelming." Mary, Pennsylvania
  • "I liked the simplicity of materials and instruction sheet suggestions to complete class." Leslie, California
  • "Very easy to understand — even technical terms made sense." Betty, Illinois
  • "Extremely educational, comprehensive, and practical! Thank you so much for making this unique course available!! It will be invaluable for helping my clients maintain and improve their quality of life!" Hope, Florida
  • Recent comments on the Long Term Care Fitness Leader professional education program:

  • "As an activity coordinator in LTC facilities for the past 12 years, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed studying for this course — Part One and Two! Plan to take more courses from SFA. Will share much of what I’ve learned with the staff at my ALF workplace. Very informative!" Elise, Florida
  • "Great information. Very useful material that can actually be applied to real life situations. Truly enjoyed this applicable material. I was refreshed by the material and I also learned a few new techniques and ideas. Material is very helpful whether as a beginner or a refreshment course. Very good!" Jose, New Mexico
  • "What I liked most about the course — Everything!! I enjoyed all the materials and videos. I liked the way these were organized and boxed in sets for future reference. I liked the wide range of topics covered. I especially enjoyed the in-depth coverage on arthritis, as well as the overview of commonly prescribed medications and their effects on exercise." Mary, Illinois
  • "I liked the conversational, practical writing style. Helpful information." Cathy, Maryland
  • "All great! I liked the information flow and the in-depth info. Great info." Debra, Ohio
  • "I loved all the terrific activity ideas that my frail elderly fitness participants can take part in both safely and successfully. These workouts and activties are fun, beneficial, and easy to conduct. They have my participants smiling, laughing, moving, and engaging with each other. Thanks a million, SFA!!! " Sharie, Florida
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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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    SFA Workshops and Graduation

    Friday, September 17th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    Nineteen activity professionals and volunteers from 10 different senior service organizations came together for two weekends at the Aquatic Park Senior Center in San Francisco for SFA’s third annual Senior Fitness Instructor workshops.

    These sessions were led by University of San Francisco’s Dr. Christian Thompson, a member of SFA’s National Advisory Board, who has been educating the community on older adult fitness leadership for more than 10 years.

    Participants learned how to structure safe and effective exercise programs for older adults and had the opportunity to practice effective exercise leadership strategies including how to provide appropriate cueing, feedback, and how to track progress through regular assessment. This year participants got additional training on leadership through Dr. Thompson’s Falls Prevention Exercise Program, a 12-week program for older adults who have sustained recent falls. This program has been recognized as a best practices exercise program for falls prevention and has been featured at several national fitness conferences.

    The 19 participants are now actively involved with leading exercise as a part of the Always Active program — a citywide program in San Francisco that provides exercise and health promotion classes at nine senior centers throughout the city. The Always Active program, funded through a generous grant by the City of San Francisco, has served more than 1,000 older adults since its inception in 2007.

    As a part of the Always Active Spring Celebration on May 28, 2010, the 19 course participants were honored as graduates of SFA’s Senior Fitness Instructor program.

    More than 200 seniors attended the celebration held at the Aquatic Park Senior Center on the beautiful waterfront in San Francisco. Participants were treated to a Wellness Walk along the waterfront, lunchtime dance entertainment, a keynote talk by Dr. Christian Thompson, and a raffle with some great prizes. Following a light snack, Dr. Thompson presided over the graduation ceremony for SFA’s graduating class. The graduates were saluted by the large crowd and presented with their SFA certificates by the Director of Aging Services for the City of San Francisco, Ms. Anne Hinton.

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    Osteoporosis and Martial Arts Fall-Training

    Monday, May 17th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    Might learning martial arts fall-arrest strategies be safe and useful for patients with osteoporosis? Could such training be helpful in preventing hip fractures in those with the disease? That’s what researchers wanted to learn from a feasibility study, using only young adult subjects, that was recently conducted in the Netherlands and published in BMC Research Notes, the journal of BioMed Central (3:111).

    The young adult participants were taught how to turn falls into safer rolling movements by using martial arts (MA) techniques that the researchers believe can also be taught to elders. Hip impact forces were measured as they performed MA falls from different positions (kneeling or standing), in different directions (forward or sideways) and under different conditions (onto a martial arts mat or onto a thick mattress).

    The authors concluded: "Based on the data of young adults and safety criteria, the MA fall-training was expected to be safe for persons with osteoporosis if appropriate safety measures are taken: during the training persons with osteoporosis should wear hip protectors that could attenuate the maximum hip impact force by at least 65 percent, perform the fall exercises on a thick mattress, and avoid forward fall exercises from a standing position. Hence, a modified MA fall-training might be useful to reduce hip fracture risk in persons with osteoporosis."

    To read the abstract of this study, click on http://www.biomedcentral.com/1756-0500/3/111/abstract.

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    Exercise and Knee Replacement

    Monday, May 3rd, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    It may make common sense that the pain relief gained through knee replacement surgery would instigate more physical exercise and, thereby, better weight control. But that is not what researchers found when they tracked 106 patients for two years following their knee replacements. Instead, 66 percent of the subjects had gained an average of 14 pounds.

    The good news is that the other one-third had lost, on average, approximately four pounds. In those who lost weight, no decline in quadriceps strength was seen, whereas the quadriceps had weakened in those who gained weight.

    Researchers explained that, after surgery, single knee replacement patients have a tendency to place more weight on the knee that wasn’t replaced. The added load of weight gain can compromise both knees and, in particular, may hasten the progression of osteoarthritis in the non-operated joint.

    In summary, knee replacement patients should take care to maintain a healthy body weight. If knee pain persists following the surgery, such patients may wish to consider swimming, pool aerobics or other joint-sparing workouts designed to control weight and promote heart health.

    This research was conducted at the University of Delaware. Click here to read the university’s report on the study.

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    Knee Replacement Surgery and Balance

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

    For elderly patients a knee replacement may do more than reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee, according to a study described at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in March. A new knee joint may also improve balance.

    The study's subjects were 63 persons, average age 73, who underwent total knee replacements. One year following their surgeries, all of the subjects enjoyed significant improvement regarding measures of balance. "We are learning that pain relief may not be the only benefit that improves function after knee replacement," said the study's lead author Dr. Leonid Kandel, as reported by HealthDay.

    Interestingly, researchers found that the relationship between improved balance and the patients' ability to walk and perform ADLs (activities of daily living) was stronger than that between decreased pain and their ability to walk and perform ADLs.

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