Topic: Lifestyle

One Terrific Role Model

Friday, April 15th, 2011 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Today the American Senior Fitness Association (SFA) celebrates the career of an outstanding SFA author and longtime friend of SFA members: James Evans. We will begin with two timely articles from Jim and then wrap things up with his impressive professional profile.

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Need Weed?

Friday, April 15th, 2011 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

It’s a poorly kept secret that many senior citizens have both longstanding and ongoing experience in the use of marijuana. But did you know that physical exercise might curb the urge to partake? Jim Evans explains below.


DEAR JIM: I’ve been smoking “weed” most of my life – since I was about 20. I’m 73 now and I still smoke 3-4 joints a day. I’ve thought about quitting from time to time, but it helps me relax and it’s pretty much of a habit now anyway. As you can probably guess, I’m pretty laid back after all these years, but I have been experiencing an increasing number of panic attacks as I grow older. I know there isn’t any
way to treat my dependence with medication, and I really don’t want to quit anyway, but I’m wondering if some kind of physical activity might help me to cut back a little. POTHEAD FROM POMONA

DEAR POTHEAD: Until recently I couldn’t really say whether exercise might be a factor in curbing marijuana use or not. However, a recent study by Vanderbilt University Medical Center seems to indicate that exercise might actually curb both marijuana use and cravings.

The study, published earlier this year in the journal PLoS ONE , found that, after just a few sessions of running on treadmill, participants who were admittedly “cannabis-dependent” but did not want treatment to stop smoking pot, experienced a significant decrease in both cravings and daily use.

In fact, their craving for and use of cannabis was cut by more than 50 percent after exercising on a treadmill for 30-minute sessions over a two-week period. Researchers measured the amount of exercise needed for each individual to reach 60-70 percent of their maximum heart rate respectively, creating a personalized exercise treadmill program for each participant.

“This is 10 sessions but it actually went down after the first five. The maximum reduction was already there within the first week,” said co-author Peter Martin, M.D., director of the Vanderbilt Addiction Center.>

“There is no way currently to treat cannabis dependence with medication, so this is big considering the magnitude of the cannabis problem in the U.S. And this is the first time it has ever been demonstrated that exercise can reduce cannabis use in people who don’t want to stop.”

The importance of this study – and future studies – will only continue to grow with the new knowledge of the role of physical activity in health and disease, according to co-author Maciej (Mac) Buchowski, Ph.D, Research Professor of Medicine and director of the Vanderbilt Energy Balance Laboratory.

“It shows that exercise can really change the way the brain works and the way the brain responds to the world around us,” added Martin. “And this is vital to health and has implications for all of medicine.”

More research will need to be done to substantiate these findings, but it certainly sounds promising. In the meantime, you might start walking for 30 minutes a day – on a treadmill or otherwise – and gradually increase the pace and see what happens. You can do your own personal experiment to see if it helps you to cut back on your pot smoking. If not, at least you’ll be in better shape.

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Who’s Who in Senior Fitness

Friday, April 15th, 2011 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

SFA author Jim Evans is a 43-year veteran of the health and fitness industry and internationally recognized consultant specializing in fitness for seniors. For seven years he was host of the popular radio talk show "Forever Young" on San Diego’s KCBQ 1170 AM focusing on issues of health, fitness, and quality of life for older adults. He is a member of the Visionary Board for the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA), focusing exclusively on the health and wellness of adults 50 years and older. Association members include people working within senior housing and retirement communities, recreation, academia, government agencies, and fitness and rehabilitation centers.

For nine years Jim served as chairman of the advisory board for the San Diego Retired & Senior Volunteer Program overseeing the fundraising and volunteer activities of more than 2,700 older adults at more than 250 worksites in San Diego (California) County.

Jim has been published in dozens of magazines and newspapers over the years including Successful Retirement, 55 & Fine, Good Age, Economic Community, Living Better, Men’s Exercise, Motor Home, Under the Sun, Senior Life San Diego, Club and Resort Business, Exercise for Men Only, Iron Man, and many, many more. His editorials have appeared in the San Diego Business Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Des Moines Register, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and others. He is the author of "Senior Health & Fitness," a monthly column published in more than 750 markets across the country (since 1992) and is a popular and well-known speaker available for speaking engagements through World Class Speakers & Entertainers.

He was the owner and president of the Peninsula Athletic Club in San Diego, the largest health, fitness, and recreational complex in California – a 200,000 square foot facility on 546 acres serving more than 3,500 members and more than 250 schools and community groups. The facility hosted such historic events as the International BMW Dealers Convention and the San Diego Grand Prix and provided lodging and services for the 1999 Mexican Women’s soccer team during the World Cup and the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team. The club was sold in 2002 to Multi-Line Fitness International, an international chain of upscale health clubs in the U.S. and Canada. Jim currently works as vice president of sales and marketing for the SIM Corporation dba Bay Area Family Fitness in addition to his consulting and freelance writing.

A former world-class powerlifter and collegiate wrestler, Jim is a charter member of the ABCC Natural Bodybuilding Hall of Fame (1985) and was the sole inductee in the U.S. Natural Bodybuilding Hall of Fame in 2009. He was the founder of the North American Natural Bodybuilding Association (NANBA) — now NANBF — in 1984 and hosted the first World Natural Bodybuilding Federation (WNBF) pro natural competition — the Natural Universe – in 1990. He is an alumnus of The Ohio State University in Columbus where he majored in English and served as president of the Ohio State Weightlifting Club. He was a member of the varsity wrestling team at Ohio State on a full athletic grant-in-aid.

Jim and his wife Jacquie grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, and currently live in Dublin, California. They have four children and nine grandchildren.

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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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    Healthy Hints for the Holidays

    Monday, December 20th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    SFA author Jim Evans is a 40-year veteran of the health and fitness industry and an internationally recognized senior fitness consultant. Today Jim provides practical solutions for mature adults who have concerns regarding holiday weight gain.

    DEAR JIM: It seems the older I get, the more weight I gain — especially during the holidays. I seem to be able to hold my own during the rest of the year, but I probably gain at least five pounds every year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. At this rate I’ll be a blimp by 2011, and I’ll only be 69. What can I do to control my weight this holiday season?
    HEFTY IN HELENA

    DEAR HEFTY: The holidays are here again, and the average American can expect to gain from one to 12 pounds during the holiday season depending on what statistics you want to believe. It’s the same old story every year. Most Americans will make the same New Year’s resolution every year too: to lose weight! How to break the cycle of failure? Try these healthy hints to help you control your weight while still enjoying the holidays:

    • WALK AFTER EVERY MEAL. Instead of sitting around feeling stuffed and uncomfortable after every big meal, get up and walk. You don’t have to be a party pooper and leave your company behind to talk to themselves — invite them to walk with you. A brisk walk around the block will be invigorating for everyone, and you can continue your conversation along the way.
    • DRINK LOTS OF WATER. Drink a full 8-ounce glass of water when you first get up in the morning and right before you sit down to eat that big meal. Another helpful trick is to take a drink of water between every bite of food. All of this will help you to eat less and improve your digestion too.
    • EAT SMALLER PORTIONS. Serve yourself smaller portions — you can always go back for another serving if you are really that hungry — and cut the servings into several small pieces. Of course, this is a psychological ploy to fool your brain into thinking you are eating more than you really are, but it does work because generally you will eat less if you take smaller portions. Eat more slowly, too, instead of trying to wolf your food down as if there were no tomorrow. What’s the hurry, anyway? Enjoy!
    • EAT BREAKFAST. Be sure to eat breakfast on the day of any big holiday meal, even if you sleep in late and the meal is only a few hours away. It will keep you from eating too much at one time and help you digest your food more efficiently.
    • WALK IN PLACE. Most people will be watching lots of television during the holidays and, between all of the football games and Christmas specials, we are creating a nation of couch potatoes in just a few short months every year. Well, fight back without sacrificing your favorite television programs. How? Just stand up during every commercial and walk in place in the middle of the room. It might sound stupid, but just think about how many commercials appear on each program. You can log a lot of miles and burn a lot of calories without even leaving the house. Think you might be embarrassed in front of family and friends? That’s their problem, not yours, and you might be pleasantly surprised when they join you (it might be fun for grandchildren too!).
    • STAND UP AND SUCK IT IN. It sounds simple because it is simple. Many people walk around slouched over, shuffling along dragging their feet with absolutely no sense of energy. They are sleepwalking through life. Make a concentrated effort to stand up straight, throw your shoulders back, hold your chest high, suck in your tummy and walk with purpose. Try it while you are holiday shopping. Walk like you mean it. It takes a little more effort in the beginning, but after a while it will become a habit.

    These simple suggestions can help you to have a healthier holiday season this year and every year hereafter. And, maybe you can convince Santa to join you.

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    Considering Your New Year’s Resolutions?

    Monday, December 20th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    If you’re thinking of kicking off the new year by kicking the habit, be sure to pause over every magazine advertisement you see for smoking cessation products. Merely looking at such ads seems to make cigarette smokers more likely to try quitting and to succeed at it, according to a Pulse wire report. This is true even when persons seeing the ads don’t actually go out and purchase the anti-smoking gum, pill, or patch being advertised.

    How and why does this work? Interviewed by the wire service, policy analysis professor Alan Mathios of Cornell University said that the marketing of smoking cessation products appears to have significant spill-over effects. It is believed to reinforce the anti-smoking message coming from public health officials and to strengthen the determination of quitters who keep seeing the magazine ads after they’ve stopped smoking.

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    Walk the Walk

    Monday, December 20th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    Maybe the perfect New Year’s Resolution would be launching that fitness
    walking program you’ve been meaning to start. If so, www.walkscore.com can help! It ranks neighborhoods according to how many parks, restaurants, businesses, schools, theaters, and other popular destinations are within convenient walking distance.

    The website’s creators told the Washington Post that walking can be more than a healthful physical activity: It can also provide mental and social exercise that promotes interactions within the community.

    If you visit the website and enter your address, you’ll see all your nearby destinations and be given their distances from your starting point. Neighborhood "walk scores" range from zero to 100 depending on how many destinations are located within one mile. Come to think of it, this information might prompt you to walk instead of driving to a local shop or cafe. Still, the system is slated to receive future upgrades. "There are a lot of things that make a neighborhood walkable that we’re not measuring right now," a Walkscore spokesman told the Post.

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    Salty Language

    Monday, December 20th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    The holiday season may not be the most accommodating time to get nutritional advice across, but dietary sodium doesn’t take a vacation from contributing to high blood pressure. So here’s a short-and-sweet, easy habit to start now and carry through into the new calendar year: To remove some of the excess salt, always drain and rinse your canned vegetables before preparing them.

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    Keep Stress at Bay During the Holidays

    Monday, December 20th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    Although this time of year should mean relaxing with friends and family, sometimes the season has a way of turning hectic — and nerves can get frazzled. In fact, all year through nearly four out of ten Americans report feeling stressed out frequently, according to a recent Gallup poll. Another 39 percent say they are sometimes stressed.

    To find ways to relieve all this stress, the Pulse wire service consulted stress expert Dr. Erin Olivo, who provided these helpful relaxation ideas:

    • Choosing the right lighting and music can help to create a soothing atmosphere that eases tension. But don’t forget another essential ingredient for encouraging a peaceful environment: pleasing aromas!
       
    • Try a little hand reflexology: Gently massage the inside of your right palm, using your left thumb in a circular motion. Then massage the other palm.
       
    • Laugh, laugh, laugh! Dr. Olivo says it releases endorphins and other healthful hormones, lowers blood pressure, and increases the blood’s oxygen levels.
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    Smart Eats

    Friday, November 5th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    At the Experimental Biology 2010 Meeting held recently in Anaheim, California, the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) presented a scientific program including this important news:

    A study of nearly 4,000 persons, ages 65-plus, found that those who most closely followed a Mediterranean diet reduced their risk for cognitive decline with aging. The subjects’ cognitive skills were tested every three years for 15 years. Those with the highest adherence to the diet were the least likely to experience mental decline.

    The study’s lead author Dr. Christy Tangney, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, said in an ASN news release: "This diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits, fish, olive oil, lower meat consumption, and moderate wine and non-refined grain intake. Instead of espousing avoidance of foods, the data support that adults over age 65 should look to include more olive oil, legumes, nuts, and seeds in their diet in order to improve their recall times and other cognitive skills, such as identifying symbols and numbers."

    In addition, Dr. Tangney said, "…we want older adults to remember that physical activity is an important part of maintaining cognitive skills."

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