In light of my most recent post (April 23, 2013) about the effect of music during my parents’ Bible study sessions, I am reposting this blog post describing an article about music, eurhythmics, and elders.
How interesting to read about the research Effect of Music-Based Multitask Training on Gait, Balance, and Fall Risk in Elderly People (abstract), an article published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The article is not freely available from the medical journal, so to read it you will need to speak with a librarian or go to a hospital library.
The article points out that most seniors’ falls occur when people are performing concurrent tasks and that “each year more than a third of the population 65 years and older experiences at least one fall.” The Swiss medical researchers wondered whether participation in a music-based program involving concurrent tasks of movement and music might have a positive effect on the factors that can cause a fall — gait and balance — thereby reducing the frequency of falls.
The music activity they chose for their research is eurhythmics, a program of music education that combines music and movement, developed by composer Emile Jaques-Dalcroze in Geneva in the early 20th century. Not surprisingly, at least not from my perspective as a college music major and life-long very amateur musician, people who participated in six months of Dalcroze eurhythmics reduced both the rate and the risk of falling by the end of the program compared to a control group that did not take the class but carried on with life as usual. When the control group subsequently took the class for six months, the researchers found the same results.
If you, your senior parents, or anyone else in your family is thinking about weight loss as a New Year’s resolution, watch and listen to this short National Library of Medicine (NLM) video that explains how newly published research in the journal Preventive Medicine has found an inverse association between the number of miles a person drives and weight loss.
An inverse association means that amount of weight loss increases as the miles a person drives decreases.
The NLM page with the video also includes a transcript. It’s also possible to click on the “CC” symbol at the bottom right of the video and turn on captioning.
Check out the abstract of the article, Quantifying the Association Between Obesity, Automobile Travel, and Caloric Intake. The full article is not free, but may be available at a public library and definitely at a hospital library. You can read a bit more about the research in a U.S. News Health article.
The article Computer Activities, Physical Exercise, Aging, and Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Population-Based Study (PDF) reports on an ongoing population study that randomly sampled 926 individuals in Olmsted, Minnesota between the ages of 70 and 93 (abstract). The article is freely available at the Mayo clinic Proceedings site.
Participants were judged to be free from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) by a medical examination and expert consensus panel. This CBS Interactive HealthPop blog post describes more about the research. Individuals who participated in this part of the larger study of normal aging competed questionnaires about the frequency and intensity of exercise and frequency of computer activities. Individuals were also asked about caloric intake.
According to the article, the data indicate an association between increased frequency of computer use and lower mild cognitive impairment. A similar association was observed between increased frequency of exercise and lower mild cognitive impairment. Individuals who indicated both moderate computer use and moderate exercise appeared to have an additive interaction, lowering their odds of mild cognitive impairment even further.
In the article the authors point out that: Read more »
Exercising on a regular basis is a challenge for everyone. Older seniors, so busy with lots of daily activities, may need encouragement and support aimed at motivating them to make exercise one of those daily activities.
In October 2011 the National Institute on Aging (NIA), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) published an easy-to-understand PDF document that clearly illustrates a basic, but complete exercise workout. Workout to Go includes explanations, suggestions, and colorful photographs demonstrating each exercise. You may download and share the NIA PDF or click on photo link to the right of this post, go the National Institute on Aging, and look over the comprehensive document.
A sample workout is part of Go4Life, a NIA program that aims to help older Americans figure out how to fit exercise and physical activities into their daily lives. Lots of other Go4Life resources from are available at the NIA website. You can also read more about senior exercise and how it affects health at the MedlinePlus Exercise for Seniors page.
Spend a minute reading this short, succinct article, reminding those of us who are mothers, adult daughters, and daily workers that we need to take time and use a bit of our energy to care for ourselves.
In Superwoman Could be Healthier, writer Nancy Rudner Lugo reminds us,” that women ages 45 to 64 have the lowest well-being of any age group or gender, and are worse off than women a generation ago.” She points out that just adding a bit of exercise several times a week can make an enormous difference in our quality of life.
A nurse practitioner and public health professional, Rudner Lugo consults on workplace health and nurse coaching. She has published quite a few short health and wellness articles in the Florida Seminole Voice and has a knack for filling her articles with information while keeping them short and to the point.
Why do people who could (and should) be walking spend so much time in golf carts? Our wonderful cottage community is a delightful place to live with amazing and thoughtful people who come from near and far to spend time each summer. I think that it is one of the most pleasantly walkable places on earth. But golf carts, with their dust and fumes and unmonitored speeds, are frustrating, and I’ll state right up front that this problem exists in a lot of places, not just where we vacation.
Don’t get me wrong. If one of my parents, now 83 and 88, had a lot of difficulty walking or became disabled and therefore required a golf cart to move around our little community, I’d rent one in a flash. Moreover, just last week my dad needed an ambulance, and I am grateful that rescue squad volunteers used their golf carts to get to him as fast as possible.
I’ve observed quite a few people, seniors and not quite seniors, who are diagnosed with arthritis and then gradually slow down and stop moving. They stop climbing stairs and taking walks. According to a recent study this may be precisely the wrong thing to do.
In 2000 the Department of Health and Human Services came up with a list of health goals, called Healthy People 2010 (note there are now 2020 goals as well). Health leaders believed these goals were achievable within ten years, not by significant scientific breakthroughs, but by using existing knowledge and redoubling efforts to apply it to the population at large. One of the goals focused on arthritis diagnosis, education, and treatment.
Bob (not his real name) is an active man in his mid-90′s. Whenever we made early morning visits to his senior community, we found him up and walking before breakfast. If the day was especially cold, he made rounds of the various corridors, regularly changing floors and always waving a cheerful good-morning to residents emerging from their apartments. Suffice it to say, he was vigorous. Watching Bob made me wonder about walking and older seniors and also made me think about the need to keep moving.
Early this month (January 2011), the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published an article, Gait Speed and Survival in Older Adults (abstract — article is not freely available). Researchers analyzed data from nine studies that examined gait and older adults, and the participants in all of the studies were community dwelling seniors, 34,485 in all. All were age 65 and older, and African-American and Hispanic communities were well represented. An individual’s gait speed was calculated in meters per second after walking from eight feet to six meters.