PHYSICAL ACTIVITY PROGRAM HELPS MAINTAIN MOBILITY
From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton
NIH Research Matters June 2014 National Institutes of Health
A carefully structured, moderate physical activity program helped vulnerable older people maintain their mobility. The study shows that exercise can benefit even many frail older people.
People who lose mobility as they age have higher rates of disease, disability, and death. Studies have shown the benefits of regular physical activity for a variety of populations and health conditions. But none has identified a specific intervention to prevent mobility disability.
Researchers for the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) trial recruited diverse participants from urban, suburban, and rural communities. The study was led by Dr. Marco Pahor at the University of Florida and conducted at 8 centers across the country.
More than 1,600 sedentary men and women at risk of disability, ages 70 to 89, participated. They were randomly assigned either to a program of structured, moderate-intensity physical activity or to a health education program focused on topics related to successful aging.
The physical activity group gradually worked up to a goal of 150 minutes of weekly activity. Activities included 30 minutes of brisk walking, 10 minutes of lower extremity strength training, 10 minutes of balance training, and large muscle flexibility exercises. The programs took place at a clinic twice a week and at home 3 or 4 times a week.
The comparison group had weekly health education workshops for 26 weeks, followed by monthly sessions. They performed 5 to 10 minutes of upper body stretching and flexibility exercises in each session as well.
The participants were assessed every 6 months at clinic visits. Researchers tracked attendance at sessions and issued questionnaires. Activity was also recorded for one week each year with an accelerometer, a small belt device that measures physical activity.
The study was supported in part by NIH’s National Institute on Aging (NIA) and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Results appeared online on May 27, 2014, in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Over the course of the study—an average of 2.6 years—the physical activity program significantly reduced the risk of major mobility disability by 18%. Participants receiving the intervention were better able to maintain their ability to walk without assistance for 400 meters, or about a quarter of a mile.
“We are gratified by these findings,” says NIA Director Dr. Richard J. Hodes.
“They show that participating in a specific, balanced program of aerobic, resistance, and flexibility training activities can have substantial positive benefits for reducing risk of mobility disability. These are actionable results that can be applied today to make a difference for many frail older people and their families.”
Based on previous findings, in 2011 NIA launched Go4Life, a national exercise and physical activity campaign for healthy older adults. The LIFE study shows that older people vulnerable to disability can also reap rewards from regular physical activity.
Reference: Effect of Structured Physical Activity on Prevention of Major Mobility Disability in Older Adults: The LIFE Study Randomized Clinical Trial. Pahor M, Guralnik JM, Ambrosius WT, Blair S, Bonds DE, Church TS, Espeland MA, Fielding RA, Gill TM, Groessl EJ, King AC, Kritchevsky SB, Manini TM, McDermott MM, Miller ME, Newman AB, Rejeski WJ, Sink KM, Williamson JD; for the LIFE study investigators. JAMA. 2014 May 27. doi: 10.1001/jama.2014.5616. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 24866862.
Funding: NIH’s National Institute on Aging (NIA), National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), and Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD); U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; and U.S. Department of Agriculture.
A LITTLE EXERCISE MIGHT LENGTHEN LIFE
From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton
NIH Research Matters Dec. 2012 National Institutes of Health
A little physical activity can go a long way toward extending your life, regardless of your weight, a new study found. People who walked briskly or did other activity at only half the recommended amount gained nearly 2 years in life expectancy compared to inactive people. Those who exercised even more gained up to 4.5 years of life.
Researchers have long known that physical activity can enhance health. Exercise can help with weight control; strengthen bones, muscles and joints; and reduce the risk for heart disease and other disorders. Despite these known benefits, most Americans are sitting or inactive for more than half of each day, and about one-third of U.S. adults are obese.
Earlier studies identified a relationship between longevity and both physical activity and body mass index (BMI, a ratio of weight to height). But it was unclear how different levels of activity and BMI might affect life expectancy.
To take a closer look, an international team of scientists led by Dr. Steven C. Moore at NIH’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) analyzed data on more than 650,000 adults who were followed for about 10 years.
These people, mostly age 40 and older, were drawn from 6 studies originally designed to assess cancer risk. The studies relied on self-reported activity levels and BMIs. The work was funded in part by NCI, along with NIH’s National Institute on Aging (NIA) and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).
As reported in the November 2012 issue of PLoS Medicine, the researchers found that people who said they exercised at recommended levels gained 3.4 years of life compared to those who were inactive. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults engage in physical activity for 2.5 hours at moderate intensity—or 75 minutes at vigorous intensity—each week.
Participants who were physically active at twice the recommended level gained 4.2 years in life expectancy. Those who said they got half the recommended amount of physical activity added 1.8 years to their lives.
The researchers also found that obesity was linked to a shorter lifespan. However, physical activity across all BMI levels helped to lengthen life. People who were active and moderately obese gained about 3 years of life expectancy compared to those who were normal weight but inactive.
The combination of obesity and inactivity led to the worst outcomes. People who were obese and inactive had a life expectancy that was between 5 and 7 years shorter than those who were normal weight and moderately active.
“In this study we saw that if you don not do any activity, doing some will give you a benefit in terms of life expectancy. And if you currently do some activity, doing more will probably give you even greater benefits,” says Moore.
“Regular exercise extended the lives in every group that we examined in our study—normal weight, overweight, or obese.”
Reference: PLoS Med. 2012 Nov;9(11):e1001335. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001335. Epub 2012 Nov 6. PMID: 23139642.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY BRINGS LASTING BONE BENEFITS
From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton NIH Research Matters March 2014 National Institutes of Health
By Harrison Wein, Ph.D.
A study of professional baseball players showed that some benefits of building bone during youth can last a lifetime. The research also confirmed that continued physical activity can help maintain bone strength as we age.
CT cross-sectional images of the humeri of professional baseball players reveal bigger bones in throwing arms (right) than in non-throwing arms (left). Scientific images by the researchers.
Bone is a living tissue that responds to physical activity by becoming heavier, bigger, and stronger. It does this best during youth. Bone mass usually peaks during the third decade of life. After that, we often begin to lose bone.
A team led by Dr. Stuart J. Warden of Indiana University explored whether any bone benefits of physical activity during youth persist with aging. Previous work found that mechanical loading during a period of rapid growth conferred lifelong benefits in bone size and strength in rodent models.
To test whether the same holds true for humans, the researchers recruited more than 100 professional baseball players at different stages of their careers. Baseball players have a unique internal control for such a study. Their throwing arms are exposed to repeated mechanical loads, while their non-throwing arms are not.
Baseball players also often retire from stressful throwing activities once they stop professional play. This allowed the scientists to explore the effects of physical activity long after players return to more typical activity. Almost 100 age-matched controls were also studied for comparison.
The researchers focused on the humerus, the upper arm bone running from shoulder to elbow. They used quantitative CT scans and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) to measure bone size and bone mineral density. The study, which was funded by NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), appeared online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on March 24, 2014.
The loads on humeral bones from repeated pitches, the researchers found, led the bones in throwing arms to nearly double in strength. The throwing arms of baseball players had more bone on the outer surface of the humerus (cortical bone), creating a bone with a bigger diameter. Compared to humeral bones in non-throwing arms, those in throwing arms had about 50% greater mass, size (total cross-sectional area), and thickness.
The bone mass benefits from throwing were gradually lost after throwing activities ended. Bone loss during aging occurred mostly on the inside of bones rather than the outside. Because of this pattern of bone loss, about half the bone size benefits of physical activity during youth and one-third of the bone strength benefits were maintained lifelong. Players who continued throwing during aging experienced less bone loss on the inside of the bone and maintained even more of the strength benefits.
“Exercise during youth adds extra layers to the outer surface of a bone to essentially make the bone bigger,” Warden says.
“As bone loss during aging predominantly occurs on the inside rather than outside of a bone, the bigger bone generated by physical activity when young has a means of sticking around long-term to keep the skeleton stronger.”
This study demonstrates the importance of building bone during youth. It also highlights the fact that physical activity during aging can continue to help fend off bone decay.
Reference: Physical activity when young provides lifelong benefits to cortical bone size and strength in men. Warden SJ, Mantila Roosa SM, Kersh ME, Hurd AL, Fleisig GS, Pandy MG, Fuch RK. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 March 24. [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1321605111. Funding: NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).
Sorry I was missing. I had computer problems following the scam. Sorry. Hope to be back tomorrow. Jeanne