Older Adult Lower Body Strength Test

Source : Senior Fitness Test Manual – Jessie Jones and Roberta Rikli

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Exercising More After Heart Attack Tied to Lower Mortality Rates

Lisa Rapaport wrote . . . . . . . . .

Heart attack survivors who step up their exercise efforts may live longer than those who remain inactive, a Swedish study suggests.

Compared to patients who were inactive for the first 10 to 12 months after their heart attack, patients who were active during that whole time were 71 percent less likely to die during the four-year study, researchers reported in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

People who were inactive at first but who increased their activity levels over time, meanwhile, were 59 percent less likely to die during the study than their constantly sedentary counterparts, and even people who reduced their activity levels but still got at least a little exercise were 44 percent less likely to die.

Overall, the study involved 22,227 patients who were surveyed twice about their activity levels: at 6 to 10 weeks after a heart attack, and again 10 to 12 months afterward. After an average follow-up of about four years, 1,087 people died.

Physical activity has long been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death after events like a heart attack or stroke.

The current study, however, offers fresh evidence of the potential to improve survival odds by exercising after a heart attack, or by trying to keep up with some workouts even if a previous level of exercise is difficult to maintain.

“If you have not been active before your (heart attack), don’t worry, start now, it will improve your health and prognosis,” lead study author Orjan Ekblom of the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences in Stockholm said by email. “If you have been active before your (heart attack) great, but keep it up.”

“For individuals who cannot exercise it is important to underline that exercise is only a limited part of physical activity,” Ekblom advised. Just moving more around the home, or taking slow walks, can help, along with other things like reducing stress and avoiding alcohol and tobacco.

It’s possible that exercise benefits people after a heart attack in many of the same ways it does before, said Claude Bouchard of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Among other things, exercise might help improve risk factors for cardiovascular disease like obesity, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, high cholesterol, excess liver fat, and chronic inflammation, Bouchard, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

Like other people, heart attack survivors should aim for about 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity activity, Bouchard said.

“Walking is the easiest form of activity to pursue this goal,” Bouchard advised. “It has a very low risk of injury and allows for easy quantification of the exercise dose.”

The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how activity levels might directly influence mortality rates after a heart attack.

Another limitation is that it only asked how many days each week people got at least 30 minutes of physical activity; this doesn’t help assess which types of exercise, or how much, might be ideal.

“However, based on the available literature to date, it seems like even low levels of physical activity even below the current recommendations relate to improved survival,” said Trine Moholdt of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

While patients should check with their physicians before starting a new exercise routine, it’s likely that there would be good options for people at almost any fitness level, Moholdt, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

“Exercise is safe and being sedentary is far more dangerous,” Moholdt said.

Source: Reuters


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How Exercise Reduces Belly Fat in Humans

Some of you may have made a New Year’s resolution to hit the gym to tackle that annoying belly fat. But have you ever wondered how physical activity produces this desired effect? A signaling molecule called interleukin-6 plays a critical role in this process, researchers report December 27 in the journal Cell Metabolism.

As expected, a 12-week intervention consisting of bicycle exercise decreased visceral abdominal fat in obese adults. But remarkably, this effect was abolished in participants who were also treated with tocilizumab, a drug that blocks interleukin-6 signaling and is currently approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Moreover, tocilizumab treatment increased cholesterol levels regardless of physical activity.

“The take home for the general audience is ‘do exercise,'” says first author Anne-Sophie Wedell-Neergaard of the University of Copenhagen. “We all know that exercise promotes better health, and now we also know that regular exercise training reduces abdominal fat mass and thereby potentially also the risk of developing cardio-metabolic diseases.”

Abdominal fat is associated with an increased risk of not only cardio-metabolic disease, but also cancer, dementia, and all-cause mortality. Physical activity reduces visceral fat tissue, which surrounds internal organs in the abdominal cavity, but the underlying mechanisms have not been clear. Some researchers have proposed that a “fight-or-flight” hormone called epinephrine mediates this effect. But Wedell-Neergaard and co-senior study author Helga Ellingsgaard of the University of Copenhagen suspected that interleukin-6 could also play an important role because it regulates energy metabolism, stimulates the breakdown of fats in healthy people, and is released from skeletal muscle during exercise.

To test this idea, the researchers carried out a 12-week, single-center trial in which they randomly assigned abdominally obese adults to four groups. A total of 53 participants received intravenous infusions of either tocilizumab or saline as a placebo every four weeks, combined with no exercise or a bicycle routine consisting of several 45-minute sessions each week. The researchers used magnetic resonance imaging to assess visceral fat tissue mass at the beginning and end of the study.

In the placebo groups, exercise reduced visceral fat tissue mass by an average of 225 grams, or 8 percent, compared with no exercise. But tocilizumab treatment eliminated this effect. In the exercise groups, tocilizumab also increased visceral fat tissue mass by approximately 278 grams compared with placebo. In addition, tocilizumab increased total cholesterol and “bad” low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol compared with placebo, in both the exercise and no-exercise groups. “To our knowledge, this is the first study to show that interleukin-6 has a physiological role in regulating visceral fat mass in humans,” Wedell-Neergaard says.

The authors note that the study was exploratory and not intended to evaluate a given treatment in a clinical setting. To complicate matters, interleukin-6 can have seemingly opposite effects on inflammation, depending on the context. For example, chronic low-grade elevations of interleukin-6 are seen in patients with severe obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. “The signaling pathways in immune cells versus muscle cells differ substantially, resulting in pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory actions, so interleukin-6 may act differently in healthy and diseased people,” Wedell-Neergaard explains.

In future studies, the researchers will test the possibility that interleukin-6 affects whether fats or carbohydrates are used to generate energy under various conditions. They will also investigate whether more interleukin-6, potentially given as an injection, reduces visceral fat mass on its own. “We need a more in-depth understanding of this role of interleukin-6 in order to discuss its implications,” Wedell-Neergaard says.

In the meantime, the authors have some practical holiday exercise tips. “It is important to stress that when you start exercising, you may increase body weight due to increased muscle mass,” Wedell-Neergaard says. “So, in addition to measuring your overall body weight, it would be useful, and maybe more important, to measure waist circumference to keep track of the loss of visceral fat mass and to stay motivated.”

Source: EurekAlert!


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Older Adults Upper Body Flexibility Test

Back Scratch Test


Read also:

國民體適能柔軟度檢測 . . . . . . . .

People Who Understand the Benefits of Exercise May Spend More Time Being Active

Tamara Mathias wrote . . . . . . . . .

The more people understand about the benefits of exercise, the more time they’re likely to spend being physically active, an Australian study suggests.

Researchers at Central Queensland University surveyed 615 people to explore their knowledge of the benefits of physical activity and the risks of inactivity. The survey also included questions to measure time spent in walking activity, moderate intensity activity (e.g., gentle swimming) and vigorous intensity activity (e.g., cycling).

Writing in PLoS One, senior author Stephanie Schoeppe and colleagues say regular physical activity “reduces the risk of all-cause mortality by 30 percent, reduces the risk of developing major chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease by 35 percent, type 2 diabetes by 42 percent, (and) colon cancer by 30 percent.”

Furthermore, they write, “Regular physical activity also “increases life expectancy . . . (and) improves general physical health and well-being.”

And indeed, nearly all of those surveyed agreed physical activity is good for health.

On average, however, participants could identify only 14 out of 22 diseases associated with physical inactivity.

And the majority were unable to accurately estimate the increased risk of disease resulting from inactivity.

More than half did not know how much physical activity is recommended for health benefits. (Similar to U.S. guidelines, guidelines in Australia advise adults ages 18 to 64 to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity per week.)

Participants were significantly more active when they correctly identified more diseases associated with physical inactivity, the researchers found.

Given the knowledge gaps revealed by their survey, they say, health promotion initiatives should aim to raise awareness of the types of diseases associated with inactivity.

One limitation the authors flagged was that about three quarters of the survey’s respondents were women, so it is unclear whether the results will be applicable to men. Further, the study participants were not representative of the Australian population as a whole.

“A large proportion of Australian adults are insufficiently active,” Schoeppe noted in an email to Reuters Health.

“For those people,” she said, “the messages, ‘any physical activity is better than none’ and ‘doing more physical activity improves health’ are useful.”

Ada Tang, a physical therapist and associate professor at McMaster University, who was not involved in the study, told Reuters Health by email that even if people appreciate the potential risks associated with being physically inactive, they wouldn’t necessarily feel any immediate urgency to act on it.

“The risk of developing heart disease might seem too far in the distant future to drive a person to change their behavior,” she said.

Tang believes initiatives must go beyond improved public relations efforts.

“It is important for us to find ways for people to participate in physical activity more often and more easily,” she said.

“When physical activity becomes more of a habit, it’s not seen as something that is an added burden to their very busy lives.”

Source: Reuters


Read also at Annals of Clinical & Laboratory Science:

Physical Inactivity: Associated Diseases and Disorders . . . . .


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