Inaktivitet er av mange utropt som den nye folkesykdommen, og tiltak for å få folk til å bevege seg mer og sitte mindre er mer aktuell enn noen gang. Det har de siste årene kommet mange initiativer som skal få oss til å bevege oss mer, blant annet smartklokker som forteller oss når vi har sittet for lenge, og automatisk lysslukking som skal få folk opp av stolen og slå på lyset igjen. De negative helseeffektene av for mye sittetid er etter hvert godt dokumentert og innebærer økt risiko for overvekt, hjerte og karsykdommer og tidlig død. En stor prospektiv studie fra Australia viste tydelig at lang sittetid økte risikoen for tidlig død, uavhengig av kjønn, alder, og kroppssammensetning. Det interessante var at lang sittetid og lavt aktivitetsnivå så ut til å økt risiko for tidlig død uavhengig av hverandre. Altså kunne man ikke kompensere for lang sittetid med bare være mer fysisk aktiv.
Most countries in the world will by the year 2050 experience a large demographic change, leading to an increase in the proportion of older adults. This is expected to increase health related costs. Physical activity is shown to be a key factor in the prevention of lifestyle-related diseases, but there is less research on physical activity among older adults compared to the general population. In addition, there are few long-term, randomized exercise intervention studies among healthy older adults. Continue reading →
In 1966 a legendary study from Dallas was published where they studied the effect of total inactivity for 3 weeks. After this 3 week period, the so-called “Dallas bed-rest study” found an increase in body weight, body-fat and a marked decline in fitness level. 30 years later they followed up the same participants and re-examined their health status. As one might expect after 30 years of aging, both body weight, body fat percentage and fitness declined from the happy 20s (before the 3 weeks of bed-rest). However, they found that they were in better shape after 30 years of aging than they were after 3 weeks of inactivity! What many researchers are asking now is if the decline in fitness associated with aging is caused by lower activity level with aging compared to activity level as young.
The biological level ageing results from the impact of the accumulation of a wide variety of molecular and cellular damage over time. But these changes are neither linear nor consistent, and they are only loosely associated with a person’s age in years. There is no ‘typical’ older person and some 80 year-olds have physical and mental capacities similar to many 20 year-olds.
However, as we grow older our bodies are changing. We may grow a little rounder around the waistline, or wake in the night, or feel a little stiffer in the morning. Most of us have to start to use glasses, and slowly our hear turns grey. Some even loose it. As we grow older increased forgetfulness that not is impairing our daily life is considered to be a part of the normal aging process. Generally, information processing also slows as we grow older, and older people have more trouble multitasking. However, research find that problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes, also called cognitive impairment may increase the risk of later progressing to dementia. Still, some people with mild cognitive impairment never get worse, and a few eventually get better.
Guest blog: Masterstudent Sara Thompson and bachelor student Fiona Callender from the University of Toronto, visited us earlier this semester. Here is a blog from them about their stay.
Through our research supervisor, Dr. Greg Wells at the University of Toronto, we were offered an amazing opportunity to read and disseminate knowledge on high intensity exercise to the general public – specifically for those entering middle or old age. We write for Virginia Davies, a retired lawyer who has developed a passion for high intensity exercise. Her website, ‘Fast Twitch Grandma’ is aimed to spark conversation about the importance of training and high intensity exercise in the aging population. She sent us across the pond to meet some of the leading researchers in the field in order to pick their brains, find out what they are doing, and discuss where they see the research going in the coming years.
Most people know that exercise is good for their physical health, but not everyone knows that it also has beneficial effects for cognitive functions and mental health. Cognitive performance decreases with old age, and a growing elderly population increases the amount of people that will get diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. In addition, mood related disorders are a major worldwide problem. Exercise can improve the lives of people who are at the risk of developing these brain-associated disorders.
Exercise can increase your memory
A study performed on elderly people showed that increased physical activity resulted in an enhanced memory performance. It did not matter if the increased activity came from organized training sessions or from routines embedded into the daily life such as walking to the supermarket, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and generally move around more in the house. One of the symptoms of diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s is impaired memory, and regular aerobic exercise is therefore recommended to prevent or delay the onset of these diseases.
Tiredness or fatigue is one of the most commonly reported symptoms in primary care. There are many different types of fatigue. For example, people may experience fatigue if they cannot sleep well or if they exercise intensively. But there are a lot of older people that feel fatigued all day every day for no apparent reason. This can be distressing and may reduce their quality of life. We don’t currently know a great deal about this problem. For example, we don’t know how daily physical activity levels are related to these experiences of fatigue. On one hand, people who are more active might be more likely to feel tired. But on the other hand, people who experience unrelenting fatigue may be forced to be less active. I am a post-doctoral research fellow working in the Geriatrics, Movement and Stroke (GeMS) group at NTNU, and through collaboration with CERG and the Generation 100 study, I was able to try and find out a bit more about fatigue.
Getting old itself is associated with numerous shortcomings, or are there advantages of being older?
The notion of prime time of life has been changing with the changing era. Some say that life begins at 40, or 60 is the new 50. Is there a way to figure out what is the best age to be? I try to summarize the writings of already published BBC article on this topic, published on 26th May 2015.
When we talk about physical fitness, mid 20s seems to be the best age for sprint running, shot put, javelin or other associated sports activities with a sharp decline after hitting 30s. Professional footballers have their prime time in sports in early 20 years of their life.
The Senior Olympics is a biennial competition for athletes over 50 and consist of a variety of sports, and for this year ́s Games, in and around Minneapolis-St. Paul, in Minnesota, nearly 10,000 men and women aged from 50 to 100 participate. The games begin on Friday 2nd of July. Senior Olympians are not professional athletes, but most train frequently, and tend to be more physically active than other people of the same chronological age.
CERGs Fitness Calculator has been extremely popular worldwide and the calculated Fitness Number was recently shown to be a robust predict of current and future health. CERG is now making the first catalogue of global fitness for “normal people” that could be used for a variety of purposes, especially to define large-scale public health policies. We have now fitness data from exactly 100 countries and on average about 1000 new users worldwide register their fitness and health data every day.
Also, we aim to study special groups such as the Senior Athletes. In collaboration with Dr. Pamela Peeke at The University of Maryland and board member of the foundation that runs the National Senior Games we are now determining the health status and their Fitness Age. So far we have collected data on more than 5000 of the Senior Athletes before the Games starts, and expect to have data for most of the 10,000 participants within the upcoming week. As can be seen from the figure to the right, Fitness Age in both Senior Olympic men and women was about 25 years lower than their real age.
This is a massive difference! We had expected a big difference as these people have trained for years and are probably among the fittest in the world in their age groups. However we were surprised it was that big. As can be seen from the figure to the left their peak oxygen uptake (fitness number) is about 13 ml/kg/min higher compared with their healthy, normally active and age matched counterparts.
Agathe – Ageing At Home, is a Grundtvig Learning Partnership under the European Commission’s program for Lifelong Learning, and last month they came to visit us at CERG, and learn more about our project on exercise on elderly, Generation 100.
– We are five partners from Germany, Poland, Spain and Norway who visit each other and learn about how each country try to make it possible for elderly people to live longer at home. Our project aims at building in each country support structures for elder people’s self-determined living at home in structurally weak rural regions, i.e. to create good conditions in order to enable people to live longer at home, project leader Øivind Solheim explains.