Exercise-The Fountain of Youth?
by Robert M. Palmer, M.D.
Glennan Center for Geriatrics & Gerontology-EVMS
August 29, 2014
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For centuries, mankind has sought various solutions to the rages of aging—from potions to vitamins, to injections of hormones. None prove worthy. But right before us is the most effective intervention to slow the aging process and frailty—and it’s in our hands–physical activity. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than in a recent experiment published in the medical journal JAMA (May 27, 2014). This study enrolled 1,635 sedentary men and women aged 70-89 years who had physical limitations but were able to walk for over 1000 feet: half received the physical activity intervention and half continued usual activities. The intervention included walking, strengthening, and flexibility exercises, and balance training. The group getting the intervention was less likely to become disabled over the next 2.6 years of follow-up. They could walk longer and faster than those who continued their usual activities. Physical activity works! No potion, vitamin or injection has matched these results. And there is no long list of serious side effects to worry about.
Here is sound advice to offer your senior clients. Physical activity, including walking, yard work, housework, and planned exercise, such as walking and strengthening muscles, can slow the process of aging and help seniors remain physically independent and living in their own homes. You can advise them to check with their primary care provider before setting out on any new exercise program. Once they are cleared for exercise, they should start slowly and increase the frequency, duration, and intensity of exercise activities gradually. Remind them to exercise sensibly: stay hydrated, warm-up muscles, and stretch those joints. Find a comfortable pair of walking shoes and make a plan to exercise at least 2-3 days per week for no less than 30 minutes throughout the day. Tell them to make physical activity a social event—find other seniors who are on the move, and enjoy yourself. Exercise should never be viewed as a burden. Watch your energy level skyrocket, your mood and memory pickup, and your overall health improve. Get moving, live longer and healthier. Indeed, sound advice for all your clients.
Landing on Feet/Humor
Hook Law Center: Kit Kat, why do cats tend to land on their feet, and do pets have a sense of humor?
Kit Kat: Well, those are good questions. Cats have a flexible spine, so it is easy for them to twist their backs when falling, so that they land on their feet. However, falling from high places can be dangerous for cats. Unfortunately, falling from heights is very common in cities where there are tall apartment buildings. According to Stephen Zawistowski, Ph.D., an animal behaviorist who works with the ASPCA, it is so common that there is even a name for it–high-rise syndrome. So if you live in a apartment building and have a cat, be careful opening and closing the windows.
Not enough research has been done to determine if pets have a sense of humor, but they do have a sense of fun. Some of the most playful dogs are Irish setters, English springer spaniels, Airedales, miniature schnauzers, and poodles. With regard to cats, Jackson Galaxy of Animal Planet’s My Cat from Hell, says that “The fact that cats live willingly with us is proof positive they have a sense of humor!”
(Alison Gwinn, “Your Pet Explained,” Parade, July 20, 2014, pg.8-9).
- Hook Law Center will be participating in Senior Advocate’s Art of Healthy Aging Series held at Westminster Canterbury, 3100 Shore Drive, Virginia Beach VA 23451. This series will be held once a month from July through December. HLC Attorneys Andrew H. Hook, Jessica A. Hayes and Shannon Laymon-Pecoraro will provide an overview of Hook Law Center’s Practice Areas at the meetings held on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 10:00 am, Tuesday, October 2, 2014 at 10:00 am, Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 10:00 am, and Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 10:00 am. We look forward to seeing you there!
- Andrew H. Hook will be speaking to the Chesapeake Chapter of NARFE (National Active and Retired Federal Employees) on September 2, 2014 at 12 Noon at the Chesapeake General Hospital’s Lifestyle, Health and Fitness Center.
- Andrew H. Hook has been invited to appear on a taping of “The Forum with Jan Callahan,” a WHRO-produced public service program, to discuss the importance of attending the Art of Healthy Aging Convention at the Virginia Beach Convention Center in November and to discuss his seminar to be held during the convention. More details to come!
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