Older People

Dance Those Cares Away!

Activity.DanceDancing can reduce seniors’ knee and hip pain and also improve their walking, a new study finds.

The research involved 34 seniors, average age 80, who all had pain or stiffness in their knees or hips as a result mainly of arthritis. The participants – mostly women – were assigned to a group that danced for 45 minutes up to two times a week for 12 weeks or to a control group that did not dance.

By the end of the 12 weeks, those who danced had less pain in their knees and hips and were able to walk faster, said Jean Krampe, an assistant professor of nursing at Saint Louis University and lead author of the study. The use of pain medicines fell by 39 percent among seniors in the dance group but rose 21 percent among those who did not dance, she noted.

The findings about walking speed are important, she added, because seniors who walk too slowly are more likely to fall, be hospitalized or require care from others.

“Dance-based therapy for older adults needs to be gentle, slow and include options so it can be performed standing or sitting, because their fatigue or pain level can change day to day,” Krampe explained.

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Source: MedicineNet.


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Activity Trackers Could Be Beneficial for Older Adults

Support.MonitorCommercially available activity-monitoring apps, Web sites, and wearable devices allow for easy self-management of health and wellness. This technology may be particularly helpful for older adults, who can improve their cognitive function through proper diet and exercise. Despite tracking monitors’ growing popularity and potential benefits, product designers rarely consider those over 65 to be a viable user group, and new human factors/ergonomics research indicates that the technology presents several usability challenges for this population.

“Many older adults have chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension that require them to self-manage their health,” said Kimberly Preusse, coauthor of “Activity Monitoring Technologies and Older Adult Users: Heuristic Analysis and Usability Assessment” and Georgia Tech engineering psychology graduate student. “Research has shown that they want to track their diet and exercise, but most don’t use activity-monitoring technologies to do so.”

“Activity-monitoring technologies can make tracking diet and exercise easier because they gather some data automatically and display trends over time,” said Preusse. “Companies should market their products directly to older adult users so that they understand how the technology can be beneficial in managing their health.”

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Source: Medical News Today.


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Moderate-Intensity Physical Activity Program for Older Adults Reduces Mobility Problems

Business.Cloud.PhysicalActivity3Among older adults at risk of disability, participation in a structured moderate-intensity physical activity program, compared with a health education intervention, significantly reduced the risk of major mobility disability (defined in this trial as loss of ability to walk 400 meters, or about a quarter-mile), according to a study published by JAMA.

Marco Pahor, M.D., of the University of Florida, Gainesville, and colleagues with the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) study, randomly assigned sedentary men and women (age 70 to 89 years) who were able to walk 400 meters to a structured, moderate-intensity physical activity program (n = 818) conducted in a center and at home that included aerobic, resistance, and flexibility training activities, or to a health education program (n = 817), consisting of workshops on topics relevant to older adults and upper extremity stretching exercises. The adults participated for an average of 2.6 years.

Major mobility disability (loss of ability to walk 400 meters) was experienced by 246 participants (30.1 percent) in the physical activity group and 290 participants (35.5 percent) in the health education group. Persistent mobility disability (two consecutive major mobility disability assessments or major mobility disability followed by death) was ex­perienced by 14.7 percent of participants in the physical activity group and 19.8 percent of participants in the health education group.

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Source: Medical News Today.


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Now This is Interesting: Being Overweight may Benefit Older People

Body.WeightLoss.TipsA new study from Australia finds that people aged 65 and over with a body mass index in the overweight range live longer and suggests perhaps the World Health Organization guidelines on BMI may not be suitable for older people.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines overweight as having a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 25, and a BMI of 30 or over as obese. BMI is equal to a person’s weight in kilos divided by the square of their height in meters (kg/m2).

Caryl Nowson, professor of nutrition and aging at Deakin University in Melbourne, and colleagues looked at links BMI and risk of death in people aged 65 and over, and found those with the lowest risk of death had a BMI of around 27.5.

They also found those with a BMI between 22 and 23 – considered to be the normal weight range – had a significantly higher risk of death.

“Our results showed that those over the age of 65 with a BMI of between 23 and 33 lived longer, indicating that the ideal body weight for older people is significantly higher than the recommended 18.5-25 ‘normal’ healthy weight range.”

Prof. Nowson says for people aged 65 and over, by the WHO standards, being overweight is not associated with an increased risk of death, and that “it is those sitting at the lower end of the normal range that need to be monitored, as older people with BMIs less than 23 are at increased risk of dying.”

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Source: Medical News Today.