News

10 minutes of exercise a day improves memory September 24, 2018 15:50

Just 10 minutes of light physical activity is enough to boost brain connectivity and help the brain to distinguish between similar memories, a new study suggests.

 

Scientists at the University of California studying brain activity found connectivity between parts of the brain responsible for memory formation and storage increased after a brief interval of light exercise – such as 10 minutes of slow walking, yoga or tai chi.

 

The findings could provide a simple and effective means of slowing down or staving off memory loss and cognitive decline in people who are elderly or have low levels of physical ability.

 

The scientists asked 36 healthy volunteers in their early 20s to do 10 minutes of light exercise – at 30% of their peak oxygen intake – before assessing their memory ability. The memory test was then repeated on the same volunteers without exercising.

 

The same experiment was repeated on 16 of the volunteers who had either undertaken the same kind of exercise or rested, with researchers scanning their brain to monitor activity. In the brains of those who had exercised they discovered enhanced communication between the hippocampus – a region important in memory storage – and the cortical brain regions, which are involved in vivid recollection of memories.

 

“The memory task really was quite challenging,” said Michael Yassa, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Irvine, and project co-leader. The participants were first shown pictures of objects from everyday life – ranging from broccoli to picnic baskets – and later tested on how well they remembered the images. “We used very tricky similar items to to see if they would remember whether it was this exact picnic basket versus that picnic basket,” he said.

 

The people who had exercised were better at separating or distinguishing between the different memories, say the scientists writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“An evening stroll is sufficient to get some benefit,” said Yassa, adding that the frequency and exact amount of exercise will depend on the person’s age, level of mobility, potential disability and other lifestyle factors.

 

The scientists also kept track of the participants’ mood changes. “With exercise you do get an enhanced mood. The question is whether that was explaining the effect we got on the behaviour or the effect we got on the brain and it wasn’t,” said Yassa.

 

Michelle Voss, a neuroscientist at the University of Iowa, described the findings as “intriguing”. “The brain regions involved here are also the regions that are thought to play a big role in the deterioration of memory with ageing. […] It would be really exciting to see this type of experiment in older adults,” she said.


Nutrition and Exercise for Seniors November 13, 2017 12:15

Eating healthy is a lifestyle choice shaped by many elements, including our stage of life, situations, preferences, availability of food, culture, traditions, and the personal decisions we make over time. All your food and beverage choices count. MyPlate offers ideas and tips to help you create a healthier eating style that meets your individual needs and improves your health. For a colorful visual of MyPlate and the 5 food groups, download What's MyPlate All About?.  There's also a link for Physical Activity.

Take a look at A Brief History of USDA Food Guides to learn more about previous food guidance symbols. 

If you want to improve your quality of life, this government site may just be for you!

Stronger Seniors Chair Exercise DVD Videos for Seniors


Exercising to Reduce Obesity October 30, 2017 11:46

Obesity is a significant health problem in the United States, affecting close to one-third of all adults. Although genetics can play a role in the likelihood that a person will become obese, the condition occurs when the amount of calories consumed exceeds the amount of calories expended over a long period of time. Excess calories are stored as fat in the body, and with long-term caloric excess, an individual eventually becomes obese. Exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet are ways in which to combat obesity.

Benefits of Regular Exercise
Regular exercise (and proper nutrition) can help reduce body fat as well as protect against chronic diseases associated with obesity. If you are looking for a reason to start an exercise program, listed below are five of the many benefits of regular physical activity.

Exercise lowers risk for chronic diseases Concerned about heart disease? Regular exercise is a proven way to decrease risk for these and other chronic diseases. It will help to prevent or manage high blood pressure. It also raises high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, known as the “good” cholesterol, and lowers low density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol. This combination will decrease the amount of harmful plaques that can buildup on your artery walls and keep blood flowing smoothly. Regular exercise can also help prevent type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain cancers.

Exercise improves your mood
Feeling a little edgy? A quick workout will help calm you down! Exercise stimulates chemicals in your brain that make you feel happy and relaxed. It also makes you feel better about yourself and helps reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.

Exercise helps manage weight
It’s a no-brainer. Exercise burns calories. The more you exercise, the easier it is to keep your weight under control. But remember that exercise is not a free pass to eat everything in sight! To burn 100 calories, most people need to walk or run about one mile. And one little chocolate M&M candy contains the amount of calories it would take to run or walk the length of a football field! So be sure not to overestimate the amount of calories you’re burning.

Exercise promotes better sleep
Having a hard time falling and staying asleep? A good night’s sleep can improve your concentration and productivity throughout the day, and exercise might be the key to getting better sleep. It can help you fall asleep faster and sleep deeper.

Exercise can be FUN
Tired of spending your Saturday afternoons watching TV or doing laundry? Looking for an activity that the whole family can enjoy? Get moving! Exercise doesn’t have to be grueling. Take a dancing class, push your kids on the swing, or try something new. Find an activity you enjoy, and have fun with it!

Starting an Exercise Program
For obese persons, the focus of the exercise program should be based on low-intensity aerobic activity with progressively increasing duration. Aerobic exercise provides overall health benefits, including fat loss, an increase in daily energy levels, and reduced risk of health problems. At the beginning of the program, the frequency and duration of the activity is more important than the intensity. Aim for exercising four or five days a week for 30 to 60 minutes. If you were previously sedentary, these sessions can be broken up into three 10-minute sessions, with gradual increases in duration.

In addition to aerobic activity, resistance or weight training can also provide some benefits to overall health. Not only does weight training make you stronger, but it also raises your muscle-to-fat ratio, which increases the amount of calories you burn at rest.

Despite all your inclinations to monitor your weight on the bathroom scale, try to resist focusing on weight loss. The body has a tendency to gain muscle or lean weight initially, so although your body is benefiting from the exercise, the pounds might not drop off right away. Focus on the quality and quantity of the exercise instead.

  • Engage in activity that puts minimal stress on the joints, such as walking, swimming or water exercises, and cycling.
  • Ease into your workout. Start slowly for the first five minutes to give your body time to adjust to the activity.
  • Work at a comfortable pace that allows you to talk without too much difficulty.
  • Focus on increasing duration first, then increasing intensity.
  • Slow down for the last five minutes to allow your body to ease back into its resting state
  • Finish with stretching exercises.

Precautions

  • It is important to gradually increase the duration and intensity of the exercises, while understanding that you will have to build up to longer and more strenuous workouts.
  • Jogging can cause stress on the knees and joints and is generally not recommended for the obese because of risk for injury. Instead, stick to lower impact aerobic activities until you are in better shape.
  • Obese people should be especially careful about heat exhaustion given that they are less able to adapt to temperature changes. Wearing light clothing will allow for better heat exchange while exercising.
  • Hydration is very important for the obese, since they are susceptible to dehydration. Be sure to drink fluids frequently before, during, and after exercise.
  • Slow down or stop if you experience chest pains, shortness of breath, palpitations, nausea, pain in the neck or jaw, or major muscle or joint pain.

Integrate physical activity into daily activity:

  • Take the stairs.
  • Park farther from the door.
  • Take a short walk at lunch.
  • Turn off the TV.
  • Take walk breaks from work.
  • Wear a pedometer for monitoring your activity.

People don’t just have time to exercise…they MAKE time to exercise. Be in control of your life. Make exercise a part of your day, everyday!

 

Stronger Seniors Chair Exercise DVD Videos


Prevalence of Obesity and Diabetes in the US 1994-2004 June 30, 2017 15:54

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2009-10, an estimated 68% of the U.S. Population was considered obese or overweight.

The high prevalence of obesity is a concern, because it increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease.


Why is Exercise and Physical Activity Important for Older Adults? May 05, 2017 10:40

If you’ve never exercised, or if you stopped exercising for some reason, you need not resign yourself to a sedentary (unhealthy) life. Programs like Stronger Seniors are designed just for you- to help you start slowly, and build up to a routine you will enjoy and stick with. 

Stronger Seniors Chair Exercise Videos


Better Health - Diet vs. Exercise - Part 3 February 20, 2017 16:28

Seniors enjoying their healthy longevity

Fall Prevention: Combating the Risks September 22, 2016 11:23

About 27,000, Americans over the age of 65 die each year from falls, says Kathleen Cameron, director of the National Falls Prevention Resource Center.

“That’s one every 19 minutes,” Cameron says. “It’s a major health problem."

With an aging population and increases in chronic conditions such as diabetes and arthritis, injuries and death from falling will likely increase, Cameron says.

Stronger Seniors Chair Exercise Program


Poststroke exercise – the benefits September 20, 2016 13:06

This review focuses on the benefits of both exercise and cognitive training for stroke patients.

Primarily, increased physical activity had several benefits for stroke patients including weight control, reduced risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer and depression.

The authors identified two types of exercise used in post-stroke training; aerobic exercise (AE) to improve cardiovascular fitness and resistance exercise (RE) to improve muscle strength.

Stronger Seniors Chair Exercise Program


Is Yoga for Seniors? September 19, 2016 10:17

If the yoga sessions accommodate personal physical limitations, there's no reason a senior can't start this 4,000-year-old practice. It's a good idea to find out exactly what you'll be doing in your yoga class and discuss it with your doctor first.

Yoga has been shown to help alleviate many of the health problems faced by older adults. In fact, the many benefits of yoga are supposed to combat the aging process.

Stronger Seniors Chair Exercise Program


Lower back pain: Why you have it, how to relieve it June 09, 2016 15:46

Millions of elderly people have no idea that their lower back and leg pain is due to certain muscle groups. There are many possible causes of your back pain. Some sources are structural or related to nerve damage. You need a medical doctor trained in those disciplines for treatment.

Many people believe that their ‘lower back pain’ is caused by a problem in the ‘lower back.’ This is understandable because most movements in daily life require the spine to move. We move. We feel pain. Hence a problem with the back? Well, not necessarily.

A large percentage of lower back pain is related to poor physical conditioning and weak muscles in your gluteal complex, otherwise known as your “butt.” The movements of daily life require the spine to move: forward, backward, side to side and in rotation. When you walk, pick up groceries, golf, play tennis your spine flexes and rotates. When the spine rotates there should be accompanying rotational movement in your legs and hips to dissipate forces in the entire body. Think about your golf or tennis swing without leg movement. The same forces exist, to a lesser extent, when lifting your grandchild or opening a car door. Your body is a holistic unit.

A solution for back pain

If your spine is forced to accommodate all the stress of movement, you will eventually have back pain. The gluteal complex of muscles plays a major role in taking the stress off the spine, because this complex helps to control the torso, pelvis, hips and legs. When you bend forward to sit on a toilet or chair, your hips bend backward to counterbalance the forward motion of your body and help you stay upright. Your gluteal complex works to decelerate the flexions of your hips and counteract the downward pull of gravity and prevent your lumbar spine (lower back) from rounding forward. Sounds complex, but it isn’t. You do these hundreds of time each day.

Simply stated, a weak gluteal muscle complex does not support your spine and your daily movement as it should. If your spine will be stressed, you will develop back pain. But a strong gluteal complex (butt) will allow your body to function properly and without pain throughout your day, almost regardless of what you are doing.

One size does not fit all

There are many types of exercises to strengthen and loosen gluteal muscles. Specific exercises work on specific sets of muscles — one size does not fit all.

Let’s say you suffer from Piriformis Syndrome which is caused by a weak, inflamed or pinched piriformis muscle. Think ‘butt’ complex. It attaches the tailbone (sacrum) to the thigh bone (femur). It lies next to the sciatic nerve (the longest and thickest nerve in the body). A short, tight piriformis muscle can pinch the sciatic nerve. That can result is excruciating pain.

A simple solution is to stretch regularly. A great exercise for a short and tight piriformis muscle is the Yoga Pigeon pose. Just place a pad on the floor, lie on your back with knees bent, then cross the ankle or shin of one leg over the knee of the other at the knee (not critical). Then pull the non-bent leg toward your chest, stretching the piriformis muscle. People have been doing this stretch for thousands of years. They may not have known why, but they did know that they felt better after doing it.

Treat yourself

First of all, see your doctor if the source of your pain is structural or related to nerve damage. If she/he says the answer is to exercise and get stronger, then you may be on your way to the elimination of back pain for the rest of your life. There are scores of exercises for all sorts of aches and back pain.

Many of our clients tell us how effective chair yoga is. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking every back pain should be treated with pills or shots. These merely mask the pain and do not treat the problem. Heal thy self — with exercise.


Research underscores importance of moderate to intensive exercise in healthy aging March 28, 2016 15:47

A latest research has suggested that elderly individuals who take part in strenuous exercise, are mentally agile, possess better memory function and process information quickly when compared to their sedentary peers.

Resistance Training for Seniors July 21, 2015 14:36

Resistance training can help seniors who fear falling or damaging aging muscles and bones while exercising. For seniors with health issues that might make strenuous exercise difficult, resistance training can be an accessible, healthful option that provides both physical and mental benefits, a new study indicates.