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.