Physical activity and exercise among older adults – The Generation 100 study

 

Hallgeir Viken denends his PhDMost 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

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Diet and exercise – important ingredients for quality of life and successful cognitive aging?

Eldre mann og eldre dame på spinningsykler. Foto: Andrea Hegdahl Tiltnes /NTNUThe 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.

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Inspired by elderly running up hills

Sara Thompson and Fiona Callender visiting workout in GranåsenGuest 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.

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Are people who feel tired all the time less active?

Thorlene EgertonTiredness 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.

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The Optimus Tempus of your Life?

D-eldre1Getting 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.

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Can exercise help elderly to live longer at home?

Visitors from the Agathe project in GranåsenAgathe – 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.

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Idar (72) on 800 kilometer long walk

Idar Gjertsen på pilegrimsvandringIdar Gjertsen (72) is a participant in our major research project on exercise in the elderly, Generation 100. Last year he impressed the young pilgrims in Spain during his two week pilgrimage, and now he has started on a new tour. It began in St. Jean de Pied de Port in France close to the Spainish border on April 28th. His goal is the famous pilgrimage site of Santiago de Compostela about 815 km away. Also this year, we will share some glimpses of his trip here on the blog.

April 27th:
Now my pulse is high. Am I sure this is a smart plan…?
Tomorrow I will go to the airport. I will stay for one night in Bayonne. The next morning I shall proceed to St. Jean de Pied de Port where I will stamp in my pilgrim passport, firmly grasp my new light poles and then I start this year’s Camino.

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