Monday, November 22, 2010

Regular Exercise Keeps Dementia and Other Diseases at Bay – 3

What should I do?

Walking, cycling, running, aerobic sports, land ⁄ water based aerobics classes, dancing, swimming, stair climbing, gym, gardening ⁄ yard work and other similar activities performed at an appropriate intensity all count towards physical activity.

Which is most appropriate depends on an individual’s lifestyle, what is enjoyable to the individual and presence of other pathologies.

An example of a pathology that might influence the type of advised physical activity could be osteoarthritis (OA). For a patient with severe knee OA, it may be better to recommend cycling/pool based exercise rather than jogging or high impact running sports (27). Other factors such as osteopenia should also be taken into account.

Weight bearing impact exercise such as running based sports, high impact aerobics or walking with a weighted back pack are better for maintenance of bone density than swimming or cycling (28,29). If sarcopenia is a concern, the addition of a strengthening programme may be appropriate.

Exercise prescription may also vary with age, an example being the addition of balance training exercises in older adults (7,12).

Recommending increased physical activity is the first step, but for motivated individuals tailored programmes can be designed to best match individual needs (7).

The current evidence base suggests that even in those with health problems, there should be some performance of exercise/physical activity (16,30).

The above is an extract from a paper by Leslie Alford of the University of East Anglia on the impact of regular exercise on our physical and mental health. You can obtained the references by clicking on FULL TEXT.

Journal Reference:

L. Alford. What men should know about the impact of physical activity on their health. International Journal of Clinical Practice, 2010; 64 (13): 1731


Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It causes pain, swelling and reduced motion in your joints. It can occur in any joint, but usually it affects your hands, knees, hips or spine. Osteoarthritis breaks down the cartilage in your joints. Cartilage is the slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. Healthy cartilage absorbs the shock of movement. When you lose cartilage, your bones rub together. Over time, this rubbing can permanently damage the joint. Source: MedlinePlus

Osteopenia refers to bone mineral density (BMD) that is lower than normal peak BMD but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis. Bone mineral density is a measurement of the level of minerals in the bones, which indicates how dense and strong they are. If your BMD is low compared to normal peak BMD, you are said to have osteopenia. Having osteopenia means there is a greater risk that, as time passes, you may develop BMD that is very low compared to normal, known as osteoporosis. Source: WebMD

Sarcopenia is the loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength with age. It is common in men and women, with prevalence ranging from 9% to 18% over the age of 65. Recognition of its serious health consequences in terms of frailty, disability, morbidity, and mortality is increasing. Source: BMJ

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