ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Awareness of Alternative Therapies May Be Lacking
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Extra Pounds in Mid-Life Affect Later Mobility
Alcohol Abuse Can Damage Bones
CANCER
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
Red Meat No No No But Oily Fish Yes Yes Yes
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
3 Steps Might Help Stop MRSA's Spread
Are Hospital Mobile Phones Dialing Up Superbugs?
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
DIABETES
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
DIET, NUTRITION
Red Meat No No No But Oily Fish Yes Yes Yes
Go Healthy, Not Hungry for Holiday Eating
Coffee Drinking Lowers Women's Stroke Risk
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Preparing for a Chlorine Gas Disaster
What's Cookin'? It Could Be Air Pollution
Global Warming Linked to Heightened Kidney Stone Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
FITNESS
Walking Golf Course Affects Swing, Performance
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Afternoon Nap Might Make You Smarter
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
Vitamin B3 May Help Repair Brain After a Stroke
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Quick Orthopedic Repair Can Save Young Shoulders
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
SENIORS
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
Add your Article

Seniors Who Exercise Help Their Health

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Sedentary seniors can improve their motor function and decrease their risk for insulin resistance by starting an exercise program that includes both aerobics and resistance training, new Canadian research suggests.

"For a long time, the standard recommendation for people of moderate age -- those under 65 -- has been 150 minutes a week of aerobic type activity," noted study co-author Robert Ross, a professor in the school of kinesiology and health studies at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. "But for older adults, we haven't had a standard, and there has been little evidence to base guidelines on."

"So now we have found, as a first-time observation, that elderly men and women whose objective is to manage their blood sugar, reduce both diabetic and cardiovascular risk, and simultaneously maintain an ability to live independently, should do both aerobic and resistance training."

On a weekly basis, this optimal training formula would be comprised, said Ross, of 90 minutes of simple aerobics -- such as walking -- alongside 60 minutes of resistance exercise of some kind.

Ross and his colleagues reported on their work -- funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research -- in the Jan. 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The authors pointed out that elderly Americans currently comprise about 12 percent of the country's population -- a figure set to rise to about 20 percent by 2030.

They further underscored the fact that the risk for developing insulin resistance -- a pre-diabetic condition in which the body does not properly utilize the hormone insulin to break down food sugars -- has long been associated with growing older.

Ross and his team also noted that American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine advocate routine physical exercise as critical means of achieving healthier aging.

To examine the impact of exercise on insulin resistance and motor function, between 2002 and 2006, the authors focused on 117 sedentary Canadian men and women between the ages of 60 and 80, all of whom were diagnosed as obese in their abdominal region.

None of the participants had a prior history of heart disease, and none had been dieting when the study was launched. Almost all were white.

Over six-month study periods, the participants were put into one of four activity groups: those who did not exercise; those engaged in resistance exercise alone (20 minutes/three times per week); those performing aerobic exercise alone (30 minutes/five times per week); and those who did a combination of both resistance (60 minutes per week) and aerobic exercise (30 minutes/three times per week).

While tracking dietary intake throughout the study period to maintain each participant's initial weight, the researchers assessed skeletal muscle mass and fat composition, as well as insulin resistance, at the beginning and end of the various exercise programs.

The researchers found that among the two groups engaged in aerobic exercise -- either alone or in combination with resistance training -- insulin resistance improved as compared with those who didn't exercise at all. Resistance training alone, however, did not produce any improvements.

The same dynamic held in terms of improvements in cardio-respiratory fitness, in which aerobic or combined aerobic-resistance training produced benefits, while resistance training alone did not.

However, any form of exercise, alone or in combination, appeared to significantly boost motor function among the participants -- although combining aerobic with resistance exercise provided the most benefit.

The authors concluded that older men and women have the most to gain by engaging in a routine exercise program that includes both aerobic and resistance training, while maintaining a healthy diet. And they encouraged health-care providers to advocate this kind of lifestyle to their elderly patients.

"It would certainly be wrong to say that aerobic exercise alone doesn't provide a substantial benefit," noted Ross. "It certainly does. And if an older individual can't get access to resistance training, aerobics alone is much better than doing nothing. It's just that optimal results are obtained from doing both aerobics and resistance."

Dr. Roger H. Unger, a professor of internal medicine and emeritus director of the Touchstone Center for Diabetes Research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, indicated that the findings are strongly in line with what he would expect.

"The reason you have muscle is to move around," he said. "Not to sit still all your life. And you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure this out. For two and a half million years of evolution, our species always had to use its muscles, until about a hundred years ago. Now we have inactivity 16 hours a day, because we no longer move our muscles to get to work, and no longer move our muscles when we're at work, and when we get home, we watch television."

"So, when we overeat and under-exert, when we don't use our muscles over long periods of time, we obviously will ultimately suffer the consequences and go on to develop all sorts of irregularities, including insulin resistance," added Unger. "So, anything that gets people to move is going to be beneficial."

More information

For more on exercise and aging, visit the U.S. National Institute on Aging.



SOURCES: Robert Ross, Ph.D., division of endocrinology and metabolism, school of kinesiology and health studies, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada; Roger H. Unger, M.D., professor, internal medicine, and emeritus director, Touchstone Center for Diabetes Research, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas; Jan. 26, 2009, Archives of Internal Medicine

Last Updated: Jan. 30, 2009

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