Four behaviours than can help you age successfully

A report recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) shows that practising the following healthy behaviours in midlife (42–63 years of age)  makes it significantly more likely people will stay healthy as they age.

  • not smoking
  • moderate alcohol consumption (1–14 units/wk for women; 1–21 units/wk for men)
  • exercise  (≥ 2.5 h/wk moderate physical activity or ≥ 1 h/wk vigorous physical activity)
  • eating fruits and vegetables daily

The more healthy behaviours that you engage in then the greater the benefits you will reap as you age.

Successful aging was defined as maintaining the ability to function well with good mobility, cognitive skills, respiratory function, mental health and no chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke or disability at age 60 years or older.

Before starting any new exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise changes with them.

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National Arthritis Week 2012

“One in six people in the UK are affected by arthritis, and anyone at any age can be affected. Our National Arthritis Week survey reveals that while most people think they have a good understanding of arthritis, for many people this understanding is actually unfounded as they believe common arthritis myths.”  – Alan Silman, Arthritis Research UK medical director

Arthritis causes pain and inflamation within a joint. There are many types of arthritis but the most common two are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid.

Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage between bones wastes away which leads to rubbing of bone on bone. This often develops in people who are over 50 and most often affects the hands, spine, knee or hip joints.

Rheumatoid occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the affected joints, causing pain and swelling . It can also lead to a reduction in movement and the breakdown of bone and cartilage. Woman are three times more likely to be affected by the condition than men.

Other types of arthritis include

  • ankylosing spondylitis
  • cervical spondylitis
  • fibromyalgia
  • lupus
  • gout
  • psoriatic arthritis
  • reactive arthritis
  • secondary arthritis
  • polymyalgia rheumatica

Whilst there is no cure for arthritis there are steps that can be taken to help manage the condition and the pain.  Many people are under the impression that exercise should not be undertaken if they have pain in the joint, this is not true.  Whilst care must be taken and modifications of exercise may be needed exercise can actually help manage the pain and ensure the joint does not stiffen up or become unstable. You may have to change your activity level depending on your  arthritis symptoms, but try to stay as active as your symptoms allow, an activity such as aqua aerobics is ideal because it relieves the weight bearing stress that gravity puts on the body joints.

For more details about National Arthritis Week and the events they are holding to raise awareness please follow this link Arthritis Research UK .

Charity survey reveals poor public understanding of arthritis in Great Britain

World Arthritis Day

Exercise guidelines for specific conditions

Arthritis and exercise

Are quadricep exercises a no-no if you have arthritis in the knee?

Alan Silman, Arthritis Research UK medical director has this to add:

“Early diagnosis and treatment can make a huge difference to the prognosis and outcome of inflammatory arthritis. There may be many people in the UK living with painful joints and reduced quality of life who have not consulted their GP and are not aware of the many treatments and self-help measures that could drastically relieve their pain.”

So if you are suffering from joint pain please don’t suffer in silence see your GP and take steps to help manage the pain.

Before starting any new exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise changes with them.

I hope you have found this article informative. If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

Helen Witcomb runs Whole Life Fitness which is a personal training company which specialises in the over 50s. For more information please visit Whole Life Fitness or call 01252313578.

Japan promotes seniors’ healthy living with incentives to exercise

The following is an excerpt from the article Japan promotes seniors’ healthy living with incentives to exercise, interact socially
 

“In Tokyo’s Suginami ward, where Doi lives, authorities award points in the form of stickers to seniors who participate in government-approved activities ranging from picking up litter, to attending health and sporting events, to cultural activities. Each point has a value of 50 yen (64 cents) and can be exchanged for grocery coupons. The Suginami local government has allocated 80 million yen for the project this year, according to its website.”

 

In the current economic climate I can’t see our government offering financial incentives to exercise but I was wondering if you thought this was a good idea or not? Is a financial incentive something that would encourage you to do some/more exercise?
If the government provided a half hour of stretching and breathing exercises broadcast nationally on the radio daily (as Japan does) would this be something you would participate in?

Love to know your thoughts.

Balance and strength training ‘help prevent falls’

A study published recently in the Britsh Medical Journal has shown that integrating balance and strength exercises into daily life can significantly reduce the risk of a repeat fall. The study was conducted on people 70 years or older, living in the community and having two or more falls, or one injurious fall, in the past year.

There were 3 groups, a control group, a group engaged in structured exercise using weighted ankle cuffs and a group assigned a  Lifestyle integrated Functional Exercise (LiFE) programme designed by the University of Sydney. This programme  involved embedding balance and lower limb strength training into daily routines, such as walking, stepping over objects and moving from sitting to standing.

The study, conducted over a year,  found a significant (31%) reduction in the rate of falls for participants in the LiFE programme compared with the control group. The overall incidence of falls in the LiFE programme was 1.66 per person years, compared with 1.90 in the structured programme and 2.28 in the control group.  There was a non-significant reduction in the rate of falls for participants in the structured programme compared to the control group.

In New South Wales a report puts the amount of older adults doing strength training at less than 10%.  I was not able to find a  figure for the UK  but the fact is that only 8% currently go to the gym regularly  and only 17% of men and 12% of women in the 65-74 age bracket are reaching recommended levels of exercise a week (taken from the 204 Chief Medical Offices Report).

The 2011 Chief Medical Officers report, Start Active, Stay Active  gives the following recommendations for strength training:

  • Older adults should also undertake physical activity to improve muscle strength on at least two days a week.
  • Older adults at risk of falls should incorporate physical activity to improve balance and co-ordination on at least two days a week.

The study also suggested that exercise incorporated into every day life resulted to greater adherence to the  programme.

As well as helping reduce the risk of falls there are  many other benefits of strength training for older adults,

For more information about the report please click  here which will take you the the BMJ.

I run a small exercise group in Farnham in the beautiful Farnham Park which combines a brisk walk with strength training. It caters to all levels of fitness and it is always lovely to see new faces.

Before starting any new exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise changes with them.

I hope you have found this article informative. If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

Helen Witcomb runs Whole Life Fitness which is a personal training company which specialises in the over 50s. For more information please visit Whole Life Fitness or call 01252313578.

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