Be Active Your Way Blog
The summer months are upon us! As the days get longer and the weather heats up, take advantage of the extra hours of sunshine to get outdoors and be physically active with your friends, coworkers, and family. When heading outside for activity and fun in the sun this month, always remember to grab your sunscreen and a reusable water bottle to protect your skin from the summer sun and to keep your body hydrated.
This month, celebrate National Running Day on June 5 and National Get Outdoors Day on June 8!
How are you or your organization enjoying the great outdoors this month? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to contribute a blog post!
Aging used to be simple: People were born, moved through childhood into adolescence and adulthood, through midlife into old age (if they lived that long), and then died. They often established a home, a family and a vocation, before retiring to live out their “declining” years. Today, with 30-plus years added to the life span, a new view of aging has emerged—one filled with anticipation and accomplishment. Standing in the way of optimal aging, however, is that familiar foe: ageism. Whether the older adult is viewed as a burden to family and society or as a “superhero,” unrealistic perceptions of aging can, and do, have a negative impact on the mental and physical health of this population. The media and marketers use fear-based communications to sell “anti-aging” products and services, driving home the message that aging - a natural process in life - is negative and should be fought every step of the way.
The reality is we are all aging. And we all will experience old age, if we’re lucky enough to live that long.
While negative portrayals and messages of aging are common when marketers and the media address the older market, most of the time this population is practically invisible to them. Only five percent of marketing dollars are spent on individuals over age 50. Together with the lack of inclusive, appropriate products, this neglect can make older consumers feel irrelevant, even though they have money to spend.What the media and marketers miss in all the above is the reality. By addressing the real challenges that older adults face and fulfilling the opportunities they desire for lifelong experiences, you and your organization can significantly impact the self-perception of these consumers and their quality of life, as well as the way others perceive them. To do so requires you and your staff, your organization and your suppliers to become advocates for this consumer group. How? Promote the message and language of autonomy, while fostering a “can do” attitude among customers. You will see a return on this investment in many ways, from consumer loyalty, to increased business, to a positive position in the greater community.Of course, to achieve the above, you may also need to address perceptions within your organization. Columbia University's International Longevity Center in New York points out four categories of ageism: personal, institutional, intentional and unintentional. Living in an ageist society, we are often unaware of how stereotypes of aging shape our perceptions of older adults. Greater sensitivity begins with increased awareness.Bottom line, perceptions become reality. The only way to change old perceptions is to create a new reality.A thought to ponder: What is the societal cost of ageism and exclusion, versus self-empowerment and inclusion?
Tags: older adults, physical activity, marketing, communication, media, ageism
Barriers | Marketing Physical Activity | Older adults
Cross-promoted from the NCHPAD News: Volume 12, Issue 1
Written by: Carol Kutik, Director of Fitness & Health Promotion at the Lakeshore Foundation
Never! Even if you have had an inactive lifestyle, research suggests that you are never too old to benefit from exercise. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) report that even moderate physical activity can improve the health of older adults who are frail, or who have diseases that accompany age. A substantial number of research studies confirming the many benefits of regular physical activity for older adults helped the U.S. government to report in its 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans that, compared to less active people, more active people have lower rates of all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, colon cancer, breast cancer, and depression. The Guidelines add that “regular physical activity is essential for healthy aging.” Note the word essential, as opposed to the word suggested.
Despite the known benefits of physical activity, the NIH reports that rates are low among older people. Only about 30 percent of adults between age 45 and 64, 25 percent between age 65 and 74 years, and 11 percent age 85 and older engage in regular physical activity. Physical activity rates for older adults with physical disabilities are even lower. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding adults age 50 and over, approximately 70 percent of those with disabilities do not participate in recommended amounts of physical activity, as compared to 60 percent of those without disabilities.
As older individuals become less active, they begin to lose their ability to perform standard daily living activities and become discouraged and reluctant to exercise, fearful that it will be too strenuous and cause them harm. All too often, decreased levels of both physical function and independence are accepted as natural consequences of aging, leading older adults to believe that exercise is not “for them” and perpetuating the downward spiral. Research from the NIH shows that the opposite is true – that exercise is safe for people of all age groups, and that older adults hurt their health far more by not exercising than exercising.
The following types of exercise are recommended for seniors who want to stay healthy and independent:
The following steps will help guide you in your new exercise routine:
Tags: physical activity, exercise, seniors, older adults
Active Advice | Older adults
It is well known the regular physical activity among aging adults can maintain bone health and decrease the risk of fractures. A new study presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's Specialty Day suggests that physical activity and exercise early in life might be equally important.
Bjorn Rosengren, MD, PhD and other researchers performed a controlled exercise intervention among children aged 7-9 in Malmo, Sweden. The intervention group comprised of 362 girls and 446 boys who received 40 minutes of daily physical education at school. The control group consisted of 780 girls and 807 boys who received 60 minutes of physical education per week. The authors collected data on fractures among all participants and assessed skeletal maturity each year.
During the study, there were 72 fractures in the daily exercise group and 143 in the control group. The participants in the exercise group also exhibited higher spine bone mass density than those in the control group.
“Increased activity in the younger ages helped induce higher bone mass and improve skeletal size in girls without increasing the fracture risk. Our study highlights yet another reason why kids need to get regular daily exercise to improve their health both now and in the future,” concluded Rosengren.
This study offers several important messages. First, all of us need to exercise. Even as we get older, we need to take long walks or go for jogs several times a week. Or we can swim, bike, lift weights, or play sports. While bone loss can occur with age, regular exercise can slow its loss. People with healthy bones likely suffer fewer fractures.
A large amount of bone formation occurs in the first two decades of life. As the study demonstrates, activity at these ages can lead to stronger bones that persist later in life. Sports and exercise done as a kid can lead to better bone health as an adult.
Adults should be exercising regularly for themselves. We can also help our children by getting outside and playing with them. Encouraging them to safely play sports and do all types of physical activities is beneficial for the entire family! How do you encourage physical activity at all ages?
Tags: physical activity, Specialty Day, exercise intervention, study
This page last updated on: 11/04/2009
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