Article Summaries: Senior Exercising

3 09 2010

Okey Dokey – I will create a place for these, but for class I’m having to write summaries of articles.  I think they’re pretty interesting.



Magazine: Duke Medicine Health News – November 2009 – Vol. 15, No. 11

Article Title:  “4 healthy Lifestyle Factors Help Ward Off Chronic Disease: Diet, exercise, low body mass index and not smoking can reduce the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer.”


A study group of over 23,000 German adults observed between 1994 and 1998 with a follow up in December 2006 showed significant proof that adults who participate in at least one of the four modifiable healthy behaviors show increased protection against developing chronic diseases over the participants who did not incorporate modifiable healthy behaviors in their daily life.  The study added maintaining a BMI < 30 to the already accepted list of modifiable behaviors. The authors do acknowledge a limitation of the study is finding ways of motivating at risk populations to choose incorporating the four modifiable behaviors into their daily life.

4 Main Points:

  1. The German study added maintaining a body mass index of <30 to the list of top three modifiable behaviors which can have impact of mortality.
    1. The top FOUR Modifiable Behaviors are:
      i.      Regular physical activity
      ii.      A healthy diet
      iii.      No tobacco usei
      v.      A BMI < 30
  2. The study of +23,000 German adults showed that participants with all 4 of the behaviors showed a relative risk for diabetes, heart attack, stroke, or cancer was 0.22 compared to participants with no healthy factors.
    1. “Participants with all four healthy factors at baseline had a 78% lower risk of developing a chronic disease than participants without a healthy factor.
      i.      Breakdown:
               a: Diabetes – 93% 
               b: Heart Attack – 81
               c: Stroke – 50
               d: Cancer – 36%
  3. By just utilizing one of the healthy factors, the risk of chronic disease was cut in half.
  4. BMI < 30 showed the largest reduction in risk of chronic disease, especially diabetes.

Article II:

Magazine: Duke Medicine Health News – December  2009 – Vol. 15, No. 12

Article Title:  “It’s Never Too Late To Start Exercising : Continuing – or beginning – physical activity in older age will help maintain independence far longer than a sedentary lifestyle.”


Researchers found that adding physical activity lead to not only a longer life, but a better quality of life – even for those  beginning physical activity between the ages of 70 and 85.  Physical activity is defined as “a modifiable behavior associated with health, functional status, and longevity.  Using a baseline of 70 years, physically active individuals participate in more than minutes of continuous activity – walking, swimming or “other exercising” aside from activities of daily living (shopping, cooking, gardening, bathing, and dressing). This study conducted through the Department of Geriatrics and Rehabilitation at Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel followed a group of 1,861 individuals born between 1920 and 1921 between 1990 and 2008. Data was collected at ages 70, 78, and 85.   The purpose was to determine how physical activity is associated with survival rate, health status, and the maintenance of functionality and personal independence of individuals starting at age 70.  Researchers concluded that continuing, or even starting, physical activity among elderly people is beneficial. It is never too late to start.

Four Main Points:

  1. Sedentary individuals average less than four hours of physical activity in a week. Physically active individuals participate in (A or B)
    1. Four hours of activity a week with vigorous activity (swimming, jogging, rapid walking) at least 2x/wk
    2. Regular exercisers who participate in exercise (walking etc) one hour a day or more
  2. No matter when they start, physically active individuals maintain independent functioning longer over time.
    1. Physical deterioration is significantly less over sedentary individuals at 70-78 and 78-85 age groups
    2. Increased ease in performing activities of daily living and maintaining ease through age 85.
  3. Physical activity is associated with lowering depression, loneliness and creating a positive self-image.
  4. Health status is increased thereby causing less financial and mental strain on the individual and their family.
    1. Physically active participants:
      i.      Took less medications
      ii.      Reported fewer falls and fracturesiii.      Had less chronic joint and musculoskeletal pain
  5. Data suggest that exercise related injuries decreased in frequency among frequent elderly exercisers.



2 responses

6 09 2010

Great summaries! This emphasizes the need for exercise and to build and maintain muscle. This is of particular importance as we age, and can often influence the level of care a senior requires. To prolong independence, maintain a healthy lifestyle including exercise.

24 09 2010

Thanks! What is so cool is the guy who got me interested in racewalking is in his 70’s. The Senior Games prove that there is activity going on!

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