Friday, May 20, 2011
Exercise Improves Balance in Older Adults with Knee Osteoarthritis
More evidence that exercise improves balance: Researchers at Wake Forest University and the University of Tennessee tested 103 adults over age 59 to see if regular, long-term exercise improves balance in seniors with knee osteoarthritis.
Subjects were divided into three groups. The aerobic exercise group walked at 50 percent to 85 percent of heart-rate reserve for 40 minutes at a time, interspersed with short rest periods if necessary, three days a week.
The weight-training group lifted free weights three days per week. They performed two sets of 10 to 12 reps of nine different exercises to strengthen both the lower and upper body.
The control group attended health education classes.
Subjects exercised under supervision for the first three months, then continued on their own for 15 more months, with regular follow-up calls to keep them on track.
Both aerobic walking and weight training significantly improved postural stability compared to the control group, whose balance deteriorated over the year and a half.
When subjects stood with their eyes closed, weight trainers swayed the least. When standing on one leg with their eyes open, walkers were able to balance the longest.
Source: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 2000; 48, 2, 131-138
Physical Activity Reduces Risk of Second Heart Attack
Physical activity after a first heart attack reduces the chances of a recurrence, according to a recent survey conducted by the University of Texas - Houston Health Science Center.
More than 400 Texans, aged 25 to 74, who survived at least four weeks after a first heart attack, were interviewed. Half were Mexican American, half were non-Hispanic white, and about one third were women.
Those who increased their activity after their first heart attack had a 78 percent lower risk of a second heart attack, and an 89 percent lower risk of death from all causes, than those who remained sedentary.
Those who maintained their level of activity after their first heart attack had a 60 percent lower risk of a second heart attack, and a 79 percent lower risk of death from all causes, than those who remained sedentary.
Those who decreased their activity had the same risk of a second heart attack as those who remained sedentary, but a 51 percent lower risk of death from all causes, possibly due to a protective effect of earlier activity.
Results were similar regardless of other factors which could affect the risk of a second heart attack: age, sex, ethnicity, severity of the first heart attack, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking and a family history of heart disease.