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Seniors Healthy, Need More Exercise

AARP, a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to addressing the needs and interests of persons 50 and older, has released the first-ever “AARP Quality of Life Index” for people age 50 and above.

The results? The health care picture is mixed, with both good and bad news. For example, 47 percent of respondents in two age groups—50 to 64, and 65-plus—reported their health as “excellent” or “very good,” an increase of 2 percentage points from a decade ago. But responses indicated a difference between the two groups. The portion who reported excellent or very good health in the younger group rose by 2.8 percentage points in the last decade, while the number declined slightly for the 65-plus group.

What about exercise? The percentage who exercise increased to 25.4 percent, nearly 2 percent more than 10 years ago, but that is still only one-quarter of those 50 and older. The most recent available figures show that 28.9 percent of those 50 to 64 report that they participate in physical activity, while only 21 percent of the 65-plus group do so. There are obviously many older adults who need your training services!

Young Athletes Active Into Adulthood

Here’s yet another reason to encourage children to play sports: A new survey found that the odds of being physically active during free time are significantly higher for adults who participated in organized sports as a child.

Research reported in the December 2003 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise analyzed survey results from the Cardiovascular Occupational Risk Factors in Israel Study (CORDIS). The study included questionnaires from more than 3,500 men employed in various industrial settings. Respondents were asked if they had participated in sports, whether team or individual, during their school years (ages 6 to 18), and the number of years they participated. (Physical education classes were not included in the definition of school-age sports.) Individuals were considered to have participated if they reported playing sports for at least 1 year of their childhood.

To analyze leisure-time physical activity, researchers asked participants if they were currently physically active in their free time and, if so, how often. Those who reported activity at least once a week for more than 30 minutes were considered active. The odds of being active as adults were 3.5 times higher for those who played sports as a child.

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