Category Archives: successful aging

Frailty: Rising global health burden for an aging society

Eat less; move more; live longer. Also, if you keep moving and using those muscles,  you will reduce your chances of suffering from frailty as you age.

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Despite the evidence on risk factors for frailty, and the substantial progress that has been made in frailty awareness, the biological mechanisms underlying its development are still far from understood and translation from research to clinical practice remains a challenge, according to a new series on Frailty just published by The Lancet. Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH, dean of Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and DeLamar Professor of Public Health Practice, and Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine, was part of an international group of experts who contributed to the series of papers which provide an up-to-date clinical overview on preventing, identifying and managing frailty as well as its global impact and burden. The series also offers evidence-based interventions for individuals with frailty. The findings are published online.

In the paper on Clinical Practice and Public Health, Fried, a renowned gerontologist and expert on aging, highlights two emerging lines of life course evidence on frailty. First, Fried and colleagues make the point that the risk of adverse outcomes can be predicted. Secondly, there is a clinical syndrome of frailty which is an outcome of biologic aging, although risk levels are substantially higher among those with certain diagnoses and comorbidities. She also notes that while great strides have been made in understanding frailty in the past two decades, many gaps in knowledge remain: no universal consensus exists on the definition of frailty or its assessment, and more robust, high-quality trials of strategies to prevent and manage frailty are needed.

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Exercise benefits your heart, despite your age …

Eat less; move more; live longer – no matter how old you are. Yes, the mantra of this blog applies to all of us, especially the old and out of shape …

A new study in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology showed that older individuals have the most to gain and may gain the most from rehabilitation programs, but this need is often ignored.

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Regular exercise is highly beneficial for all patients with cardiovascular disease regardless of age, report investigators in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, published by Elsevier. Their results showed that the patients who benefited most from cardiac rehabilitation were those who started out with the greatest physical impairment. Continue reading

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Harvard on resuming bike riding

I know that we are late in September and a lot of folks will be putting away their bikes ‘for the season.’ I ride year ’round here in Chicago and enjoy it. If you are one of those who haven’t ridden in a while and would like to take up a super form of exercise, I hope you will consider cycling. There are still a few good weeks left before the cold sets in. You can get started now.

The Harvard Health Publications has a nice positive blog post on starting cycling again presumably as a senior.

Heidi Godman, Executive Editor of the Harvard Health Letter, states that she loved riding as a kid, but now only rides occasionally.

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“It’s fun, it’s socially oriented, and it gets you outside and exercising,” says Dr. Clare Safran-Norton, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Plus, cycling is an aerobic activity, it’s easy on the joints, and it helps build muscle and bone. Continue reading

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Writing into old age!

I have written repeatedly about how exercise benefits the brain as well as the body. Here is a wonderful post about exercising the ‘old noodle’ and how it has direct benefits on the brain.

Learning from Dogs

Thank goodness for this!

It’s not exactly a ball of fun growing old. But while somethings inevitable decline writing isn’t one of them. This is a fascinating article from The Conversation.

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One skill that doesn’t deteriorate with age

Reading and writing can prevent cognitive decline.
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Roger J. Kreuz, University of Memphis

When Toni Morrison died on Aug. 5, the world lost one of its most influential literary voices.

But Morrison wasn’t a literary wunderkind. “The Bluest Eye,” Morrison’s first novel, wasn’t published until she was 39. And her last, “God Help the Child,” appeared when she was 84. Morrison published four novels, four children’s books, many essays and other works of nonfiction after the age of 70.

Morrison isn’t unique in this regard. Numerous writers produce significant work well into their 70s, 80s and even their 90s. Herman Wouk, for example, was 97…

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Think declining mental sharpness ‘just comes with age’? Think again, say experts

Declining mental sharpness “just comes with age,” right? Not so fast, say geriatrics researchers and clinicians gathered at a prestigious 2018 conference hosted by the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) with support from the National Institute on Aging (NIA).

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In a report published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS), attendees of a conference for the NIA’s Grants for Early Medical/Surgical Specialists Transition into Aging Research (GEMSSTAR) program describe how increasing evidence shows age-related diseases–rather than age itself–may be the key cause of cognitive decline. And while old age remains a primary risk factor for cognitive impairment, researchers believe future research–and sustained funding–could illuminate more complex, nuanced connections between cognitive health, overall health, and how we approach age. Continue reading

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Is Cycling Past 70 Different Than Cycling Past 50?

I wanted to reblog this because I ran it six years ago and it seems unlikely that a lot of you are familiar with it. Also, there are some great ideas inside. Enjoy!

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

I ran across this excellent discussion of senior cycling on RoadBikeRider.com. They have graciously permitted me to reprint it. See permission at end.

RBR Editor’s Note: Coach John Hughes copied me on a recent email exchange he had with Marty Hoganson, an RBR reader with whom he had ridden on tours in years gone by. Marty wondered what, if any, differences there are in terms of recovery, motivation, etc., between 50-somethings and 70-somethings. Both agreed to let me share the exchange with RBR readers. It provides a wealth of solid, useful information.

Marty Asked:
These days I live and ride in Yuma, Arizona. I am involved in our local bike club called Foothills Bicycle Club, which is primarily made up of retired folks – late-50s to mid-80s. Many strong riders in their 60s and 70s, for their ages — or any age, for that matter.

Now that I am older…

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Diets rich in blueberries yield diverse benefits

A collection of new studies in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences further quantifies how blueberry consumption can contribute to healthy aging.

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“Since the 1990s, research on the health benefits of blueberries has grown exponentially,” wrote guest editor Donald K. Ingram, PhD, FGSA, in an opening editorial. “Studies have documented that this fruit ranks highest in antioxidant activity compared to many other popular fruits. Moreover, other mechanisms for the health benefits of blueberries, such as their anti-inflammatory properties, have been identified.”

Ingram’s editorial is followed by four articles in a special section of the journal’s Biological Sciences section. One of the studies found that consuming 200 grams of blueberries (about one cup) daily can improve blood vessel function and decrease systolic blood pressure. As the cause, the authors cited anthocyanins, which are phytochemicals that give blueberries their dark color.

Other studies document the cognitive benefits of eating blueberries. One tied the fruit’s high polyphenol count to improved performance on memory tests by a group of older adults. Likewise, another journal article provides a review of several clinical studies focusing on benefits of blueberry supplementation — with a focus on specific memory effects in children as well as older adults with mild cognitive impairment.

The journal collection also includes a rodent study, which presents data on the improved memory performance of blueberry-supplemented aged rats compared to rats on a control diet.

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Looking forward to a better second half …

Here in the first week of July we have just entered the second half of 2019. So far 2019 has been a rough go for me. Back in March I wrote about the physical therapy for my back pains as well as the problems I was having with my teeth. You can find the gory details at Spoiler alert – on being 79 years old.

Then in mid-April, I followed up with the details of my subsequent oral surgery and, of course, forced down time to recover. You can read the details here: Taking physical downtime.

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My dog has been patient with me. When I started riding in the warmer weather, I did not have the energy to bring her along. Clearly, she likes to accompany me.

Later in April, I wrote an update on my recovery from surgery and biking. As I said in the post, at the age of 79, most of my biking friends are decades younger, so I have a hard time understanding how well (or not) my body is recovering. I quoted the MacArthur Foundation book Successful Aging for a partial reference on that.

I did find some interesting info on aging and fighting illness in the MacArthur book. they compare a 30-year-old with his 80-year-old grandfather afflicted with pneumonia. Here is the part that interested me most, the course of the senior’s illness “might be very grave indeed. This is because the average 80-year-old non-smoker has only about two-thirds the lung function of his 30-year-old counterpart. And, his immune system is impaired as well. ” So, what I drew from this is that my recovery from the surgery will be slow, but is probably on track.

In the first week of June I wrote about my latest and greatest affliction – a bronchial virus. You can read the details at – 7 Days makes one weak.

I came down with the fever on May 26 and was unable to ride my bike for the next three weeks. I have to tell you that I can not remember the last three week period in my life that I did not ride my bike. Even when I was married and working, I always got my rides in.

Here, in the first week of July I can state that I am recovering – not fully recovered from the virus of late May. After my three week down time, I began riding in tiny bits, five miles a day, then eight miles. At this point I am able to get in my usual 30 mile rides, but I find myself napping for at least an hour or more later in the day. Managing my recovery is like walking a tightrope. I work on getting exercise, but have to be careful that I do not go too far, and set myself back. To compound the difficulty, July heat has come to Chicago so I have that to contend with, too. It is clearly a – one day at a time deal.

As I wrote in the header to this post, I am looking forward to a better second half. So as to not leave you on a sour note. I am off to Las Vegas with my girl friend in a couple of weeks. Looking forward to that.

Tony

 

 

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Seniors – Raise fitness level; Improve brain function – KU

Science Daily reported that a professor of neurology at Kansas University (KU) Alzheimer’s Disease Center, led a six-month trial conducted with healthy adults ages 65 and older who showed no signs of cognitive decline.

The randomized controlled trial attempted to determine the ideal amount of exercise necessary to achieve benefits to the brain.

Exercises-for-Seniors-and-Benefits

Before proceeding, I would like to add that I am now in my sixth year of writing this blog. To continue that long at a healthy pace (+2500 posts) you have to be motivated and get positive feedback.

Reading about this new study on exercise benefiting the brain was extraordinarily positive feedback. I have written about the benefits of exercise and the brain for several years. You can check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise) for more details. Suffice it to say that the KU report was most welcome. Continue reading

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Tips on living a longer life – WebMD

Regular readers know that I am a big fan of WebMD. I often quote from them to share ideas with readers. They have just run an item on living longer that has some wonderful suggestions. By no small coincidence, I have also included many of the same suggestions in this blog over the past nine plus years. However, here are a few that were new to me:

Profiles of two partners looking at each other while arm wrestling

Profiles of two partners looking at each other while arm wrestling

“Be Conscientious – An 80-year study found one of the best predictors of a long life is a conscientious personality. Researchers measured attributes like attention to detail and persistence. They found that conscientious people do more things to protect their health and make choices that lead to stronger relationships and better careers. “

As a person who considers himself to be conscientious I was happy to learn that it may be instrumental in my living longer.

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Of cats and dogs and cliches …

I thought this was a good subject to write about three years ago and I still think so. I hope you will agree.

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

I was reading this morning and ran into the cliche you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I have to tell you that this is one particularly annoying expression to me. This is another of the general negativity directed toward seniors.

By the time I retired, I had become something of an expert on markets. After 20 years spent writing about international markets for Reuters News Service I went on to write for the Investments Department of a major philanthropic organization. The final five years of my working life I actually managed the investment of $900 million in the debt market.

c2c616d5ae15f2c08c080737b4ea8d7d.jpgWho says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

After retiring, at the age of 70, I started writing this blog. It had nothing to do with markets or the economy. The primary focus was weight loss in the beginning, but after taking a number of…

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How to boost brain health and fight Alzheimer’s

At the risk of being repetitious, I just wanted to pass along some good information on keeping your brain intact while you are pursuing a life of healthy eating and regular exercise. That’s why you’re reading this blog, right?

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The seven guidelines to reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease are:

  • Minimize your intake of saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fat is found primarily in dairy products, meats, and certain oils (coconut and palm oils). Trans fats are found in many snack pastries and fried foods and are listed on labels as “partially hydrogenated oils.”
  • Eat plant-based foods. Vegetables, legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), fruits, and whole grains should replace meats and dairy products as primary staples of the diet.
  • Consume 15 milligrams of vitamin E, from foods, each day. Vitamin E should come from foods, rather than supplements. Healthful food sources of vitamin E include seeds, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and whole grains. Note: The RDA for vitamin E is 15 milligrams per day.
  • Take a B12 supplement. A reliable source of B12, such as fortified foods or a supplement providing at least the recommended daily allowance (2.4 micrograms per day for adults), should be part of your daily diet. Note: Have your blood levels of vitamin B12 checked regularly as many factors, including age, impair absorption.
  • Avoid vitamins with iron and copper. If using multivitamins, choose those without iron and copper, and consume iron supplements only when directed by your physician.
  • Choose aluminum-free products. While aluminum’s role in Alzheimer’s disease remains a matter of investigation, those who desire to minimize their exposure can avoid the use of cookware, antacids, baking powder, or other products that contain aluminum.
  • Exercise for 120 minutes each week. Include aerobic exercise in your routine, equivalent to 40 minutes of brisk walking, three times per week.

Other preventive measures, such as getting a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night and participating in 30 to 40 minutes of mental activity most days of the week, such as completing crossword puzzles, reading the newspaper, or learning a new language, can only help boost brain health.

Before you leave, just wanted to pass on a reminder about my Page – Important facts about your brain – and exercise benefits.

Tony

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Exercise, but respect the weather

As regular readers know, I feel strongly about the great outdoors, savoring the experience of it as well as actually exercising outside. Summer is taking its time arriving this year. We are still getting 50F temps this week in Chicago. But the heat is coming. You can count on it.

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In view of the upcoming warm temps, I wanted to remind you of my Page – How to deal with extreme heat for lots more examples.

Meanwhile the Go4Life folks offer the following excellent suggestions for heat extremes:

• Walk on the treadmill, ride the stationary bike, or use the rowing machine that’s gathering dust in your bedroom or basement. Or use one at a nearby gym or fitness center.
• Work out with an exercise DVD. You can get a free one from Go4Life.
• Go bowling with friends.
• Join a local mall walking group.
• Walk around an art gallery or museum to catch a new exhibit.
• Check out an exercise class at your neighborhood Y.
• If you like dancing, take a Zumba® or salsa class.
• Try yoga or Tai Chi.
• Go to the gym and work on your strength, balance, and flexibility exercises or set up your own home gym. All you need is a sturdy chair, a towel, and some weights. Soup cans or water bottles will do if you don’t have your own set of weights.
• Go to an indoor pool and swim laps or try water aerobics
• How about a game of indoor tennis, hockey, basketball, or soccer?
• Go indoor ice skating or roller skating.
• Maybe it’s time for some heavy duty cleaning. Vacuum, mop, sweep. Dust those hard-to-reach areas.

Tony

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Growth hormone, athletic performance, and aging – Harvard

Can human growth hormones really benefit aging, like the elusive fountain of youth? In 1513, the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Len arrived in Florida to search for the fountain of youth. If he got any benefit from his quest, it was due to the exercise involved in the search.

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Few men today believe in miraculous waters, but many, it seems, believe in the syringe of youth. Instead of drinking rejuvenating waters, they inject human growth hormone to slow the tick of the clock. Some are motivated by the claims of the “anti-aging” movement, others by the examples of young athletes seeking a competitive edge. Like Ponce de Len, the athletes still get the benefit of exercise, while older men may use growth hormone shots as a substitute for working out. But will growth hormone boost performance or slow aging? And is it safe?

What is human growth hormone?

Growth hormone (GH) is a small protein that is made by the pituitary gland and secreted into the bloodstream. GH production is controlled by a complex set of hormones produced in the hypothalamus of the brain and in the intestinal tract and pancreas. Continue reading

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Breaking down barriers to exercise

Eat less; move more; live longer is the mantra of this blog. Like so many good ideas, it is simple, but not easy. Herewith some suggestions from The National Institute on Aging.

Exercise is good for almost everyone, but there are so many things that can get in the way of staying active. It’s time for some positive thinking. No more excuses!

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Here are some tips to help you overcome those barriers and improve your health. Continue reading

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How do you feel about aging?

Asking your opinion on aging is not just an idle query. Does aging mean decline and disability to you? Or do you consider aging to be a time of opportunity and growth?

According to the Wall Street Journal, your attitude about aging plays a key role in how well you actually experience getting older.

“In test after test, researchers are finding that if we think about getting older in terms of decline or disability, our health likely will suffer. If, on the other hand, we see aging in terms of opportunity and growth, our bodies respond in kind,” Anne Tergesen wrote in the WSJ.

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The good news is that there is a real physical and mental upside to aging with positive attitudes. On the other hand, negative stereotypes which are pervasive in America can do serious harm to all concerned. Continue reading

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