More muscle strength is associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline, according to a study published in the Archives of Neurology (2009; 66 , 1139–44). Researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, studied more than 900 residents of retirement communities in the Chicago area who had no dementia at the beginning of the study. The scientists measured strength in nine muscle groups and then compared results with strength measurements and cognitive function approximately 31/2 years later.
Before you teach your older-adult classes a core routine, remember that in order to maintain stability and support, the core is activated milliseconds before any movement occurs in the body, so don’t limit your thinking of core exercises to the abdominals or lower back. Even small movements in the periphery of the body are sufficient to recruit and condition the core musculature. Also, recognize that a lean and sculpted core is generally not a requirement for older adults’ quality of life.
Four types of training—aerobic, resistance, flexibility and balance—are each critically important for the overall health, functional capacity and quality of life of our senior clients. Health and fitness professionals can follow readily available evidence-based guidelines, provided by major health organizations, when designing training programs to positively modify these fitness components.
Engaging in bridge employment—
defined as part-time, temporary or self-employment—as a transition to permanent retirement may enhance the health of older adults, according to a study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology (2009; 14 , 374–89). Data analysis from 12,189 retirees
enrolled in the Health and Retirement Study formed the basis for this finding.
Have you ever walked into a room and forgotten why you were there? Diminished cognitive health—from this type of mild decline to more serious dementia—can have profound implications for overall health and well-being. Sustained brain health and enhanced lifelong learning are vital parts of aging and improve quality of life. Cognition, which includes mental processes such as intuition, judgment, language, remembering and the ability to learn new things, has a key role in wellness.
The unique properties of water (buoyancy and resistance) provide a safe and effective modality for both relaxation and vigorous exercise, yet the health benefits of water workouts are not widely known. Current public health trends—especially rising rates of obesity, coupled with an aging population, associated chronic conditions and rising healthcare costs—are a call to new action for both treatment and prevention.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC 2009), by 2030 the portion of the U.S. population aged 65 and older will double to about 71 million. The growing number of older Americans will put unique demands on public health, aging services and the nation’s healthcare system. The CDC suggests that chronic diseases (e.g., cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes) place a profound health and economic burden on older adults, owing to associated long-term illness, diminished quality of life and greater healthcare costs.
As the body ages, it is vitally important to maintain bone health through weight-bearing activity. According to a recent report, higher-impact physical activity may be beneficial for improving bone strength. Published in the November/
December issue of Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach (2009; 1 , 508–13), the report suggests that bone mineral density (BMD) can increase significantly in older athletes who participate in high-impact sports.
I“It’s not in my genes to be fit.” “My grandkids wore me out, and I can’t exercise.” “I was just lucky to lift that much weight.” “My days are so boring—the only thing I look forward to is a good meal.”