Building Up Bones to Build Up Protection

strength trainingWhile my mother exercises five or six times a week walking and swimming, a year or so ago she was told at her wellness center that she needs to do more to build up her bones and keep them strong. So mom uses weights a couple of times a week as well as balance training.

I too use weights to develop stronger bones, especially on my upper body. Along with cycling, walking, and the elliptical trainer at least five times a week, I use weights once or twice a week.

So it was with great interest that I read Jane Brody’s New York Times article, Building Up Bones , With a Little Bashing. This August 12, 2013, New York Times article makes for good reading whether you are an adult child or an elder because it explains why different kinds of exercise are important and also describes how ordinary daily tasks can help strengthen bones.

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Making a New Year’s Weight Loss Resolution? Drive Less

weight and driving

Click to watch the video at the National Library of Medicine.

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.

Exercise, Computer Use, and Cognitive Impairment

A research study published in the May 2012 issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings finds an association between computer activities, physical exercise and reduced mild cognitive impairment.

Listen to lead author and neuropsychiatrist, Yonas E. Geda, M.D., discuss the study.

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:                    Continue reading

Sample Exercise Routine – National Institute on Aging

Download Workout to Go!

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.

SuperWomen — Take Care

 Adult children try to do it all. Adult daughters sometimes do even more and take risks with their health.

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.

Golf Carts Drive Off-Course, but Not By Seniors

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.

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