Want to help your pre- or borderline hypertensive clients improve their health? Tell them to take a swim. Regular swimming is a popular form of exercise for people seeking low-impact options. Researchers now suggest that it may also help reduce blood pressure and improve vascular function among older adults. In a study published in The American Journal of Cardiology (doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2011.11.029), 43 adults with prehypertension or stage 1 hypertension who were not using medication were separated into a swim group and a gentle relaxation exercise group for 12 weeks.
Video games may be primarily the domain of the younger set, but scientists are suggesting that older adults go virtual to help preserve brain function. Published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (2012; 42 , 109–19), a recent study of 102 participants aged 55 and above, found that exergaming may be more effective than traditional exercise at improving cognitive function. The participants were separated into two groups: a cybercycle group and a recumbent cycle control.
While B.K.S. Iyengar may still be teaching at 93, Guinness World Records has awarded the distinction of “oldest yoga instructor’ to Bernice Bates, a 91-year-old who instructs yoga at the Mainlands Retirement Community Center in Pinellas Park, Florida. Bates has been practicing and teaching hatha yoga since about 1960, according to Today.com. She currently offers a once-weekly hourlong yoga class that includes 10–12 poses and ends with relaxation. Personally, she practices several postures before getting out of bed every morning.
A press release from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that more than 30% of men and women who receive Medicare are considered obese. Medicare will begin offering those individuals obesity screening and counseling as part of a preventive services package under the Affordable Care Act. Primary care physicians administer the screening and then refer eligible individuals for counseling. A referred individual will receive once-
I want to express my gratitude for the thoughtful and thorough review of training for seniors in “The Significant 7: Principles of Functional Training for Mature Adults” (January 2012) by Cody Sipe, PhD, and Dan Ritchie, PhD. They nailed some of the salient features of errant training concepts and methods that I have seen by trainers who just don’t understand the needs of the elderly.
Improving inefficient gait patterns is often a focus among fitness professionals working with older adults. Walking problems can diminish independence and increase injury potential. A recent study suggests that regular stretching of the hip flexor muscles can improve gait patterns among this population. The purpose of a study published in PM&R (2011; 3 , 324–29) was to determine the effectiveness of a 10-week hip flexor stretching program on walking patterns among 82 older adults.
People are considered to be in their “prime” during their 20s, and they often accept that their physical fitness and health are meant to decline as they age. Contrary to this belief, a recent report says that many people aged 50 and older feel healthier than ever. The research found that 17% of the 1,500 respondents “over 50” believe they are more fit now than they were in their 20s. More than half believe they look younger than their age. This group also says that they eat more fruit and vegetables than they did in their earlier years.