Topic: Healthy Living

Help for Parkinson’s Disease

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

UF&Shands, the University of Florida Academic Health Center, is the most comprehensive of its kind in the southeastern United States. The UF&Shands news release below describes a practical new resource for patients and caregivers affected by Parkinson’s disease:

University of Florida neurologist Michael Okun, M.D., has answered more than 20,000 questions from patients with Parkinson’s disease, typically not about cures or the latest treatments, but about something much simpler – how to live well with the disease. Now Okun has written a book that he hopes will help patients everywhere.

The more I talk to Parkinson’ patients, the more I realized a couple of things,” said Okun, co-director of UF Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration. “Almost nothing is available to patients about basic lifestyle things in any language but English. Even in the most educated patients, who have access to everything, there are still lots of very simple things they aren’t doing. There are lots of things you can do to improve your quality of life.”

To address this need, Okun has authored a book titled “Parkinson’s Treatment: 10 Secrets to a Happier Life.” Published recently, the book is now available on Amazon and Smashwords in more than 20 languages. The e-book retails for $3.99. His goal is to reach every patient and family dealing with the disease.

Globally, about 4 to 6 million people have Parkinson’s disease, and 50,000 to 60,000 new cases are diagnosed in the United States each year, according to the National Parkinson Foundation. As people continue to live longer, the prevalence of Parkinson’s disease in the population also will increase, Okun said.

“It is really important for people to recognize this is a problem,” he said. “If you plan on living a long life, pushing up into the eighth or ninth decade, your chances of facing a disease like this are very high. You cannot escape it.”

But unlike having a disease such as Alzheimer’s, patients can live for decades with Parkinson’s — so understanding how to live well with the disease is crucial.

Some of the topics Okun covers in the book are how to prepare for hospital stays and when to take medications, as well as everyday issues such as sleeping and exercise. Chapters are also devoted to secondary problems such as depression and addiction-like symptoms in Parkinson’s patients.

“Really, these should not be secrets,” Okun said. “If you know these things, you can live a much better life with your disease.”br>
To Okun, what is perhaps most important is making the information available in languages besides English. The book was made available on both Amazon and Smashwords specifically to increase the number of possible translations. Currently, copies can be found in 20 languages, including English, Italian, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic among others.

“There isn’t any joking with Dr. Okun about the ’10 Secrets to a Happier Life’ in Parkinson’s disease,” said Muhammad Ali, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1984, in a written statement. “This book is a critical resource for Parkinson’s disease patients and families from around the world who speak different languages but suffer from very similar and often disabling symptoms.”

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New PBS Documentary Age of Champions

Monday, April 15th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

The American Senior Fitness Association invites you, your friends, clients and colleagues to watch the new PBS documentary Age of Champions for free from April 18th – 28th at www.ageofchampions.org/premiere

Age of Champions tells the story of five competitors who sprint, leap, and swim for gold at the National Senior Olympics. You’ll meet a 100-year-old tennis champion, 86-year-old pole vaulter, and rough-and-tumble basketball grandmothers as they triumph over the limitations of age.

“All of the characters in the film have the conviction that the best in life still lies ahead of them. They show us how we can grow older with grace and good humor,” says Age of Champions director Christopher Rufo.

The film premiered to a standing ovation at the prestigious Silverdocs Film Festival, the Washington Post hailed it as “infectiously inspiring,” and it’s already shown at more than 1,000 venues around the world.

Share this resource with your friends, clients and colleagues by emailing them the following link:

AGE OF CHAMPIONS NATIONAL ONLINE PREMIERE
April 18th – 28th
Live Q+A with the filmmakers on April 25th
www.ageofchampions.org/premiere

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Exercise and Lung Disease

Monday, April 15th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

With medical approval, physical exercise can be very beneficial for persons with chronic lung disease. In fact, it has been shown to improve their endurance, decrease symptoms and reduce hospital stays, according to the book Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions.* The authors recommend working with one’s doctor to develop a personalized exercise plan, to start out at a very low intensity level, and to progress very gradually. Over time, one’s shortness of breath at a given exertion level should begin to decrease. Following are some additional training tips specific to lung disease from the authors of Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions:

Using your medicine — especially an inhaler — before exercising can help you to exercise for longer periods of time and to do so with less shortness of breath.

If you become severely short of breath upon minimal exertion, your physician may wish to adjust your medicines. For some patients, the doctor may order the use of supplemental oxygen before beginning an exercise session.

Perform lengthy, thorough warm ups and cool downs. While warming up and cooling down, breathe in through the nose, allowing your belly to expand outward, then exhale slowly through pursed lips. Establish a daily low-intensity routine on which you can build gradually.

During exercise, mild shortness of breath is to be expected. Also, prior to exercise, you may experience an "anticipatory" increase in heart rate and breathing rate. Although this is normal, it can be intimidating or tiring for some persons with chronic lung disease. A gradual warm up period including pursed lip breathing can help. Also, avoid your
personal "trouble zones" of shortness of breath by limiting exercise intensity and duration to levels well under the threshhold at which severe shortness of breath occurs.

Throughout the exercise session, breathe in deeply and slowly. Exhale through pursed lips, taking two to three times as long to exhale as to inhale. When walking, for example, if you take take two steps while inhaling, practice exhaling through pursed lips over four to six steps. Exhaling this slowly improves air exchange in the lungs and will likely increase endurance.

Note that arm exercises may cause shortness of breath sooner than leg exercises do.

Cold air and/or dry air can make breathing and exercising more difficult for persons with chronic lung disease (which is why many choose swimming as their preferred exercise activity).

With physician approval, strength training (for example, calisthenics or light weight lifting) may be especially helpful for persons who have been weakened or deconditioned due to medications such as steroids.

For exercise beginners who have low endurance or who fear exerting themselves, using a restorator can offer a greater sense of control, build self-confidence, and provide a secure, user-friendly way to get used to physical exertion. A restorator lets you stay chair-seated during exercise. You can start and stop the device as desired. It is a small piece of equipment featuring foot pedals that you place on the floor at the foot of your chair (or even attach to the foot of your bed if lying-down exercise is needed). To exercise, simply pedal. The resistance level can be adjusted, and leg length and knee bend can be accommodated by placement of the restorator. This can be particularly useful for persons who have poor balance.

*Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions, Third Edition, was written by Kate Lorig, RN, DrPH; Halsted Holman, MD; David Sobel, MD; Diana Laurent, MPH; Virginia Gonzalez, MPH; and Marian Minor, RPT, PhD; with contributor Peg Harrison, MA, MSW, LCSW.

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The Upside of Exercise

Monday, April 15th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

You may know SFA professional Caroline Anaya, MS, as author of the popular book The Curious Upside of Aging. She also offers a short video, The Upside of Exercise, that can be an effective recruiting tool for health-fitness professionals. It provides 29 inspirational testimonials in 30 minutes on DVD. These authentic and heartwarming testimonials have already motivated many seniors to move past their concerns, issues and mistrust regarding the benefits of exercise… and give it a go! For more information, visit www.Great-Senior-Fitness.com.

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Hard-to-Treat Breast Cancer

Monday, April 15th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Can a diet high in fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of getting estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer?That is the question that a research team led by Seungyoun Jung, formerly of the Harvard School of Public Health, sought to answer by conducting a study recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer is rarer than other forms of breast cancer and has a lower survival rate. The study detected a lower incidence of the disease among women who consumed high amounts of fruits and vegetables — especially vegetables. However, it failed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship. Perhaps women who eat more fruits and vegetables tend to lead healthier lifestyles overall, which would help to reduce their risks. Notwithstanding, following a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables is clearly worthwhile.

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Nutrition Labeling

Monday, March 4th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has issued a fascinating press release entitled "Can Changes in Nutrition Labeling Help Consumers Make Better Food Choices?" The Academy’s statement, which will be of great interest to health-fitness professionals, follows:

The Nutrition Facts label was introduced 20 years ago and provides consumers with important information, including the serving size, the number of servings in the package, the number of calories per serving, and the amount of nutrients for each serving of a packaged food. However, research has shown that consumers often miscalculate the number of calories and the nutritional content of products that have two or more servings per container but are usually consumed in a single eating occasion.

Two nutrition labeling changes could have the potential to make nutritional content information easier to understand: 1) dual-column information that details single serving and total package nutrition information, and 2) declaring nutritional information for the entire container.

Amy M. Lando, MPP, and Serena C. Lo, PhD, of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, College Park, MD, conducted an online study with more than 9,000 participants to measure consumers’ accuracy in using modified versions of the Nutrition Facts label and to assess their perceptions of how useful, trustworthy and helpful the label was.

Says Ms. Lando, "FDA commissioned this experimental study to look at whether different ways of presenting the serving size and nutrition information on the Nutrition Facts label might help consumers. In particular we were interested in studying products that have two servings per container but that are customarily consumed in a single eating occasion."

Study participants evaluated nine modified Nutrition Facts labels and the current label format for four fictitious products (two frozen meals and two grab-and-go bags of chips). The labels were classified into three groups. The first group of labels used a single-column format to display information for products with two servings per container; the second group used versions of a dual-column format to display information for products with two servings per container; and the third group used single-column formats that listed the contents of the product as a single, large serving.

The study team also tested whether changes in formatting, such as enlarging the font size for the declaration of "Calories," removing the information on the number of calories for fat, or changing the wording for the serving size declaration, would be helpful to consumers in determining the calories and other nutrient information for a single serving and for the entire package.

Study investigators determined that participants could more accurately assess the number of calories or amount of fat or other nutrients per serving and in the entire package when a single, large serving per container or a dual-column format was used.

"This research is just one step in understanding how some potential food label modifications might help consumers make better decisions. Ideally, we would like to see how these labels perform in a more realistic setting, such as in a grocery store, with actual packaged foods as opposed to large labels on a computer screen," concludes Dr. Lo. "The Nutrition Facts label is only one tool that can help consumers make informed food choices and maintain healthy dietary practices, but it is a valuable tool so it’s important to continue exploring ways to support effective use of the label for these purposes."

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Cough, Be Gone!

Monday, March 4th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

The Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies offers the following helpful advice for relieving the coughing that may well accompany colds this time of year:

Drinking lots of fluids helps keep one’s throat clear. Choose water and fruit juices over coffee or soda.

Using a humidifier to moisturize the air at home will make breathing easier. When one has a cold, dry air irritates the throat — and the air in one’s home can get very dry during the winter.

Sucking on hard candy or medicated throat lozenges can discourage coughing when one’s throat is dry or sore.

Having a little honey may be soothing. Stir 2 teaspoons of honey into a cup of warm tea or warm lemon water.

Elevating the head of one’s bed may improve one’s ability to rest. Raise it from four to six inches if the cough is due to a backup of stomach acid. Also eschew food or drink within two to three hours of
bedtime.

The Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies does not encourage using over-the-counter cough syrups and medications "because they aren’t effective." If a cough persists longer than two or three weeks — or if it is accompanied by fever, increased shortness of breath or bloody phlegm — contact a medical doctor.

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Make the Pool Your Gym

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Subtitle: No-Impact Water Workouts for Getting Fit, Building Strength and Rehabbing from Injury
Copyright: 2012
Number of pages: 103
Suggested U.S. retail price: $14.95

The publisher’s description:

"Step into the non-impact, total-body benefits of water exercise. Once used primarily for rehabilitation, water exercise has been proven to build strength, improve cardiovascular fitness and burn calories — all without the strain and trauma of land-based activities. This flexible training tool can help you:

  • Improve muscular strength
  • Increase flexibility
  • Enhance cardiovascular fitness
  • Alleviate pain
  • Rehabilitate injuries
  • "With step-by-step instructions and clear photos, Make the Pool Your Gym shows how to create the effective and efficient workout best suited to your needs. Whether you’re a non-swimmer, an elite athlete or someone with a chronic condition, you can make a splash in your fitness level without even getting your hair wet."

    On page 14, Dr. Knopf writes:

    "When performing water workouts, try to keep the majority of movements in the water. Having your arms out of the water will change your heart rate and influence your body mechanics. (When your arms are out of the water, your heart rate becomes artificially higher and doesn’t provide a true representation of your exercise intensity.) More importantly, when your arms are out of the water, you’re not applying any resistance to the upper body. Bottom line: Arm exercises out of the water should be limited."

    The book also provides special aquatic exercise advice for persons with:

  • Arthritis
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Low back pain
  • Hip problems
  • Knee problems
  • Shin splints
  • Ankle/feet problems
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    Must-Have Foods

    Thursday, September 27th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics urges people of all ages to follow a balanced, complete and nutrient-dense diet plan. However, it has also identified certain nutrients that seniors should take special care not to skip. They include dietary fiber, potassium, vitamins B-12 and D, calcium and the right kinds of fats. Fiber can be obtained from whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Some breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin B-12, which can also be found in lean meats, seafood and fish. Calcium and vitamin D come in fish, leafy greens, non-fat or low-fat diary foods and fortified products. Saturated fats and trans fats should be replaced with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats. These hints may be particularly helpful to older adults with special nutritional needs.

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    More About Diet

    Thursday, September 27th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    Here’s an important news alert for Americans and Canadians, especially persons with high blood pressure. A recent study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) revealed that international fast-food chains consistently put more salt in food items sold in the United States and Canada, compared to the same items when sold in other developed nations.

    Researchers determined the salt content of major fast-fare restaurant items in the U.S., Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. The chains that were looked at in the study included Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Subway. The types of foods that were studied included burgers, sandwiches, french fries, pizza, savory breakfast items, chicken items and salads.

    Overall, the researchers learned that the sodium content of comparable food items varied greatly from country to country, but that fast-food in the U.S. and Canada contained a lot more sodium than that in France and the U.K. An example provided by a CMAJ news release illustrates the findings: In Canada, a 3-1/2 ounce serving of McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets had 2-1/2 times more sodium than the same size serving in the U.K. That’s 600 milligrams of sodium, compared to 240 milligrams — or 1.5 grams of salt compared to 0.6 grams. In summary, fast-food giants are selling the same products on the American continent and overseas, but with significantly lower sodium content abroad.

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