Osteoporosis afflicts almost one in ten older adults and osteopenia, the low bone mass that precedes osteoporosis, affects 50% - women and men. Osteoporosis increases the risk of devastating falls and fractures. In addition to adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D, it's important to do regular weight-bearing exercise (such as walking) to build strong bones. It's better to start early in life – but it's never too late to start!
Although not technically "weight-bearing" exercise, swimming is an excellent form of exercise for seniors and, after walking, is the second most popular choice among the older set. This is because it is easier on the joints and reduces overheating. Now, a small study published in the American Journal of Cardiology is also noting that swimming reduces blood pressure and improves blood vessel function. Grab your trunks…
Researchers in BC have found that resistance training (weightlifting) can slow the advancement of cognitive impairment that leads to dementia/Alzheimer's disease. Training was done twice weekly and results were compared to aerobic exercise, which didn't demonstrate the same degree of improvement. The researchers have developed an instructional video for YouTube. Look for Exercise is Power: Resistance Training for Older Adults.
Turns out you have another muscle to exercise to help stave-off dementia or Alzheimer's: your brain! In what's clearly a case of use or lose it, those who are bilingual have a significantly reduced risk of developing cognitive impairment. It appears that learning two languages, especially early in life, contributes to building a "cognitive reserve" and creating a buffer against loss of memory and brain function.
Our pharmacists find that many of their favourite patients are seniors! Talk to them and learn more about how to keep fit and healthy.