Seniors and Exercise

By Dr. Juan Paolo Borja, DO Board Certified in Family Medicine
I am often asked if exercise is good for the elderly. While this question seems
like common sense, over eighty percent of Americans fail to do the recommended amount of activity on a daily basis.
Regular exercise can help prevent chronic diseases, improve emotional moods and lower risk of injury or falls, which can be catastrophic for an individual. Also regular exercise provides a multitude of health benefits, including improvements in blood pressure, diabetes, and osteoarthritis, among others.
Exercise is even more important for frail elderly as they are the most prone to falling and broken bones. Even for people whose physical abilities are limited by medical conditions – they can still be given guidance by their physicians to learn exercises that
can improve their mobility and strength.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, almost all older people can
benefit from physical activity and a regular exercise program. A consistent exercise program can greatly decrease mortality and age related diseases in older adults. In a study by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, it was noted that elderly who exercise regularly were found to have improvements in functional reach and balance and reduced the seniors fear of falling.
The benefits of exercise are not just limited to improving physical limitations but are important in psychological health. Exercise improves circulation. It has been
associated with improved moods due to serotonin release in the brain. It improves neuroplasticity of the brain, which is important in maintaining memory and adaptability to new situations.
The ideal exercise program for seniors should include resistance training along with cardiovascular training. Resistance training, or weight training, helps with maintaining muscle mass and putting off the effects of sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is the natural decline in muscle tone that occurs with normal aging.
Muscle tone is important for maintaining good balance and strength to maintain independence. The recommended amount of exercise is thirty minutes of cardio endurance exercise each day for older patients. To start, I always suggest patients begin with a good walking program to acclimate their bodies prior to any increase in intensity.
With regular exercise, your ability to ward off infection and disease also improves. A strong body fights off infection and sickness more easily. Exercise has been proven to lower the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, and protects against loss
of bone mass. Better bone density reduces the risk of osteoporosis and lowers the risk
of falling and breaking bones. Before beginning any new exercise program be sure to check with your physician.
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Don’t lose your head over hair loss

 

Yes, is not an easy thing to handle, and its effects go beyond the appearance. Hair loss is a problem that doesn’t discriminate between men and women, and it emotionally affects both equally.

We all have seen thousands of products and procedures that ensure the return of the lost hair, but the reality is that the problem goes deeper and there is no a magic formula or lotion that could prevent or restore the hair loss overnight. That’s why is very important for you to be informed and to analyze your own situation so you can collect the information you need to fight the problem.

The first step once you detect hair loss is to evaluate and know how big or serious is the problem. It’s important to understand that we all lose hair every day. Losing up to 100 hairs is normal. Now, what you need to determine is if you are experiencing a significant hair loss, or if it’s something that is just starting, or maybe we are talking about thinning hair. Everything is important when you are evaluating the situation.

Now, when we talk about causes, there are several of them, and they can go from stress to age, through chemical processes, hormonal deficiencies or family history.

Your doctor can diagnose your hair loss with some of the information you collect. The physician will need to know when it started, how much hair are you losing, and what’s your parent’s history with hair loss. Some of your hairs might be collected at your doctor office for tests, and even a blood sample could be necessary.

Once you have a clear diagnosis and the cause of your problem, the options to treat your hair loss will be presented to you. At the end of the day, it will be your call on what to do or not to treat the issue, but the most important thing is to know and understand that hair loss doesn’t have to be a taboo in your life. To the extent that you recognize and decide to put the problem in professional’s hands, you will have better options to see improvements. Don’t lose your head over hair loss, you are not alone!