ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Traditional Chinese Therapy May Help Ease Eczema
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
B Cells Can Act Alone in Autoimmune Diseases
Fractures in Older Adults Up Death Risk
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
CANCER
Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
Method for Treating Cervical Lesions May Pose Pregnancy Risks
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
CAREGIVING
Diabetes Epidemic Now Poses Challenges for Nursing Homes
Caring for Aging Loved Ones Can Be a Catch-22
Late-Life Fatherhood May Lower Child's Intelligence
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
DIABETES
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
B Vitamins Might Lower Stroke Risk
The Food Irradiation Story
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Pilots May Face Greater Cancer Risk
Greener Neighborhoods Mean Slimmer Children
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
EYE CARE, VISION
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
When Gauging Age, the Eyes Have It
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
FITNESS
Football Can Shrink Players
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Will the Wii Keep You Fit?
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Can a Bad Boss Make You Sick?
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
SENIORS
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
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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