“National Physical Fitness & Sports Month”: a Model for all Nations,”to prevent spread of Chronic-Diseases” | by: Helen Durkin, IHRSA | Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is as relevant today as it was back in 1983 when “President Ronald Reagan” signed the very first proclamation making May the month to get moving…It matters ” even more Now “….!! 

Three decades and two generations since that initial signing, America has become entrenched in a state of technological advancement where movement has been largely engineered out of daily living…

#Sedentary-Activities, permeate our Work, Educational, and Social Lives…And as a nation, we’re feeling acutely the physical and fiscal consequences of Too-Little Exercise…!!  

Indeed, today’s #EpidemicRates of Obesity, Diabetes, and “Unbridled spending on Preventable #ChronicDiseases,” all link-back in some way to the simple fact that we just don’t move enough….!!

To fathom the “Benefits that #RegularExercise brings”, we don’t need to dig deep…After all, Regular #PhysicalActivity, is a well-established mainstay of #PrimaryPrevention….!! 


By primary prevention, I mean basic #LifestyleBehaviors that STOP Preventable ChronicDiseases before they Start…Specifically, the FOUR Key Pillars of Primary Prevention include :

(i) Regular Exercise

(ii) Sound Nutrition

(iii) The Avoidance of Tobacco, Alcohol, and Other controlled-substances

(iv) #StressManagement – Primary prevention is so influential to health outcomes,

In-fact, that if everyone followed these Low-cost Behaviors….,at least 80 % of all #HeartDisease, #Stroke, and #Type2Diabetes—along with 40 % #Cancer — would be prevented…!!

Regular exercise, in and of itself, yields tremendous benefits….In fact, a new study just determined that #PhysicalActivity, is so important to a woman’s heart health that when a woman over 30 does not exercise, she increases her risk of heart disease even more than if she smoked, were obese, or had high blood pressure…When you consider that heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, and that #CoronaryHeartDisease Costs the United States $108.9 billion each year in #HealthcareServices, Medications, and Lost Productivity, you begin to realize just ” how much clout “ Exercise really carries…!!

But that’s not all…Other research suggests that exercise also may help stave off Alzheimer’s disease….This includes a new study that found that moderate physical activity reduces hippocampal atrophy in the brains of older adults who have a genetic risk for developing Alzheimer’s…

According to the researchers, the hippocampus is critical for the formation of episodic memories—or more simply put, memories of past personal experiences. Now that’s important stuff, especially given the rate at which Americans are developing Alzheimer’s—one new case every 67 seconds; and that Alzheimer’s disease is now the most expensive condition in the nation…

In 2014 alone, says the Alzheimer’s Association, the direct costs to American society of caring for those with Alzheimer’s will total an estimated $214 billion, including $150 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid…!!

Let’s not forget the ” Preventive Power” that exercise holds over Type 2 Diabetes…That’s the type that accounts for about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases, and the type that is largely preventable….!!

In fact, research has shown that ” 30 minutes a day of moderate OR high-level physical activity is an effective and safe way to prevent Type 2 Diabetes in all populations…!! It’s worth noting, too, that the total annual costs of diagnosed diabetes is now up to an estimated $245 billion, and that we also know that exercise helps manage type 2 diabetes for the millions who already have it…

Yes. We still desperately need Physical Fitness and Sports Month as a focal-point for raising awareness of the preventive power of exercise. But we can’t stop there. We must encourage and support physically active lifestyles throughout the year..

” After all, Exercise truly is the most Cost-effective Medicine we have for Preserving Health and dodging “avoidable Chronic Diseases”…With chronic-conditions now costing $2 trillion or more in health spending each year, it really is worth breaking a sweat….!!

“Healthy-Aging Into Your 70’s and Beyond” : “5 keys to Long & Healthful Life” | Consumer Reports

” 60 years-ago an individual person..who made it to 65, could expect to live an additional 14 years. Today, it’s 19 years.. The most important question then : how to grow older healthfully so that we can actually enjoy those extra years? A ­Consumer Reports survey of  Age 50 and older, ­revealed that we’re eager to maintain our quality of life into retirement and far, far beyond “..

Whether you’re just starting to think about your golden years or are well into retirement, it turns out that most of us have pretty similar goals : ” Remaining Independent, Keeping Mentally Sharp, and Staying as Mobile as Possible,” said Fernando Torres-Gil, Ph.D., director of the UCLA Center for Policy Research on Aging.

“But that kind of successful aging requires savvy planning and decision-making…” Our survey found that multiple chronic illnesses, shelves full of medications, and numerous medical specialists are common for individuals older than 50, so lining up good health care and managing it smartly are important !!

We also discovered that ” Mobility decreases dramatically as you age” ; 1 ) 33 % of those older than 80 have difficulty walking, and 2 ) More than 25 % have a tough time simply getting out of chairs.

So a “Fitness – Plan” that maintains “Strength, Flexibility & Balance is vital…” Our survey group told us that their current home was the top choice of where to live as they aged and needed more care. But the ability to do so is highly dependent on the home’s location and physical features.

Also, maintaining an “Active Social Network for yourself & being a Life-long Learner” are the best ways to reduce the ” Risk of Cognitive Decline “, the situation that respondents feared most about Old-Age.

The good news – No matter whether you’ve just hit 50 OR are well on your way toward the century mark, there are Strategies that can help you stay Healthy, keep you Socially & Intellectually engaged in the world around you, and create a living situation that is comfortable and safe…!!

1. Managing your Health :

THREE out of Four of those we surveyed, had at least ONE Health Condition, such as High Blood-Pressure, Arthritis, OR Dia­betes—and 31 % had Three OR more..

“You’re likely to end up with multiple doctors, not all of whom are coordinated with each other,” said Daniel Callahan, Ph.D., a medical ethicist specializing in aging (who, at 83, says…“I’ve now got a chance to study myself ”). “The basic question is Who’s in charge here anyway? ”

It’s not easy to get your arms around the complexities of modern health care. But if you assemble a capable team and take ­advantage of some of the recent improvements in the way doctors are organizing their services, you can minimize confusion. What are the most important items on your medical To-Do List ??

  • A great Primary Care Doctor 
  • Well-managed medications  
  • Remain Health-Insurance savvy 

2. Keeping your Body Strong :

One of the ongoing effects of Aging is “Loss of Muscle – Mass”. If you don’t do anything to fight it“, you could find yourself unable to get out of an arm-chair  OR off the toilet, one day…”
Aging also brings “Declines in Aerobic Capacity & Flexibility”… And those factors together increase your risk of falls—at a time in life ” when Bones tend to be more brittle “. 18 % of our survey respondents said they had fallen in the last year, and of those, 71 % were injured, including 8 % who broke a Bone..
Here’s a Quick-Test to find out whether your Fitness has deteriorated to a point that puts you at risk :  ” Time how long it takes you to get out of an armchair”, ” Walk 10 feet “, ” Walk back “, and ” Sit-Down again”… A healthy adult older than 60 should be able to do it in 10 seconds OR less !!
Flunked the test ?? The Good News is : that it’s never too late to start working out to counter aging’s effects.
“There’s no medication, NO medical-device that has anywhere near the ” effectiveness of Physical Activity ..”
Here are some Concrete Steps you can take, based on recommendations from Experts at the “American Heart Association” & “American College of Sports Medicine” :
  • Get a Physical – Therapy Evaluation done
  • Do ” 150 minutes of Cardio” every-week
  • Add Strength  – Training (You should strength train on TWO or THREE non-consecutive days each week and do 8 to 10 exercises targeting the muscles of your Upper-Body, Lower-Body, and Core area)
  • Keep your Balance (one of the simplest exercise is to practice “standing on one-leg”. Also consider “Tai-Chi”, which numerous studies have shown improves balance and reduces the risk of falls)
  • Stay Flexible (” YOGA” is great for Flexibility. But Get a Clearance from your Doctor for participation in the activity. If you have any chronic problems, find a qualified-instructor, and make sure he OR she knows about any physical limitations you have)

3. Staying ” Mentally Sharp” :

The older Americans we surveyed said that “Losing their cognitive abilities was their No. 1 fear” about aging.  Nothing you do will protect you 100 % from developing Alzheimer’s disease OR other forms of dementia, but there are ways to reduce your risk :
  • Remain “Physically Fit”(follow the fitness advice in the previous section, because staying physically-active decreases the risk of cognitive decline)
  • Stay “Socially – Engaged”
  • Learn something  “New”(the key to Brain Fitness is to establish new neural connections by taking on fresh mental challenges)
4. Living Independently (Alone) :
55 % of our respondents wanted to stay in their own homes, with help as needed, as they got older and required more care. But a recent AARP survey revealed that only about half of older adults thought their homes could accommodate them “very well” as they age ; 12 % said “not well” or “not well at all.”
“ The time to think about your housing options is when you first retire and are relatively healthy and young”. “ You need to think realistically about the things that might happen over the next 20 years.”
If you want to “ Age-in-place”, here are some modifications to consider if your home doesn’t already have them:
  • Ground-floor sleeping space 
  • Ensure Bathroom “Safety features”
  • Lever-type Door-knobs and Faucet Handles (they’re easier to turn for people with stiff or weak hands and arms)

Can Too Much of “Cardio” hurt your Heart ? | Exercise/Applied Physiology | by : Rachel Sturtz | Equinox

” Research links Long-Term Endurance Training to various Heart issues. Experts weighs in”…

In the last 10 years, a handful of studies have gained attention for finding that Long Term, High-Volume Endurance Exercise…could hurt your Heart as much as you’re trying to help it.

A study from the Journal of Applied Physiology found that compared to their everyday, middle-aged counterparts, longtime marathoners had a higher risk for myo-cardial fibrosis, a scarring and building up of the heart’s lining, which can lead to loss of flexibility over time. Research in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed that men who trained for and completed marathons for 25 consecutive years were more likely to have a build-up of coronary plaque in the arteries, the result of which can lead to arrhythmia and other heart-pumping problems. Even former professional cyclists are five times more likely to have ventricular tachycardia, a disorder that disrupts the heart’s normal function and increases heart rate, according to another study.

Does that mean you’ll keel over from a heart attack during your next long run ? “No”, says Paul Thompson, Ph.D, medical director of cardiology at Hartford Hospital and The Athletes’ Heart Program.

“ You can’t do a Lot of Exercise unless you already have a good engine (Heart) ”, says Thompson. “There’s not a lot of evidence saying that that much exercise is good for you, but there’s no direct evidence yet that says it harms you. These studies are just a starting point.”

Thompson also points out that less than one percent of the U.S. population works out two or three hours a day, so everyday gym – goers don’t need to be concerned.

Pushing yourself through one more set of burpees won’t make you keel over. For the same reason, a cyclist who rides for an hour-and-a-half at a moderate speed every day won’t be facing the same potential risks of a cyclist who puts in 3 hours of intense riding for 10 years.

But even if you do work out like an Olympian, if you feel healthy, you probably are. In fact, Thompson recommends athletes skip screening if you don’t have a family history of heart disease.

“ When a person exercises that much, the heart enlarges and atrial chambers change,” says Thompson. “An athlete’s heart can mimic an abnormal EKG reading to a doctor who doesn’t work with people that fit, and it could result in multiple, expensive tests. Wilt Chamberlain’s EKG would have looked like he had a heart attack.”

Thompson said the only time you should worry is when there’s a sudden change to how you feel. If you are suddenly robbed of energy and can no longer do workouts, or if you pass out during exertion, see a doctor. In those cases, it could be an underlying medical problem, oftentimes heart-related.

As for what happens down the road, researchers are looking into it. For now, the good still outweighs the bad when it comes to Cardio..