Tuesday, November 11, 2008

'Movement is Medicine'

"Movement is Medicine;" Music to my ears!!

* Do you know what physical activity offers 76% risk protection against Alzheimer's? (* answer below)

When I was in school, PE meant teachers who enjoyed ball sports & ridicule - not very inspiring or encouraging!! My favorite year - Sophomore in HS - was when we had a sweet gal with waist length red hair for fall term. She worked on things like deportment, & gymnastics floor exercises . . . then came spring, & she had to return to finish her college requirements, & we had the usual drill Sarge. gal for the rest of the year.
I tried a bit of gymnastics in College, & that was fun - but I didn't really think of myself as 'fitness oriented.' A few friends 'jogged' - that was a new thing - but it didn't much appeal. Then, when I was 28, my niece was in Nutcracker, & I went to watch - oh, ballet!! I had ballet paper dolls, & loved old musicals, especially if they had dancing scenes. Ballet - & 2 of my sis-in-law were enrolled in classes for adults!
I went to 'watch' a class, & the teacher encouraged me to participate, even tho I wasn't dressed for it!! Oh, ballet!!
I tried a few classes in our home town (my hubby's family lived, & the classes were ~ an hour away, but we visited often) . . . umm, boring? While the class I'd attended was so delightfully vital! Turned out to be a world class teacher, with classical Russian training, & I was hooked.
So for several years we drove up for class (my hubby & daughter started taking as well), then moved here, when the time was right. It took me ~ 5 years for my legs to catch up - my mom had been on crutches (polio at 9), & I think that influenced me on a deep level. She always encouraged me to do anything I could, but I always felt 'clumsy.'

When I studied massage, also from someone who'd had polio, I was encouraged to take Tai Chi, to enhance my body mechanics, & perhaps to teach seniors at some future time. I continued with both ballet & tai chi, loving them both. 6 years later, after moving to the hot springs, I began teaching Tai Chi as a 'daily well being' offering. With the ever changing flow of guests, & occasional staff who'd join for a time, I taught a 'drop in' style. I was blessed with access to several Qigong workshops, & added more of the energy theory (some of which came intuitively as well) to my classes.

Over the last few years, I've offered occasional classes, but advertising myself hasn't been my forte.

This week, a local elder care facility is hosting their National Senior Medical Officer (500 facilities!), who is presenting information on the benefits of continuing with purpose full movement throughout life. "Optimum Aging" is the goal - with physical, mental & emotional health intact, healthy spirits, & a twinkle in the eye!

So many statistics!! Risk of falls decreases by half with Vitamin D-3 intake upped to 800 - 1000 IU!
In Oregon's Willamette Valley, we're N of the 45th parallel, with winter sunlight not enough to stim. Vit D production in the skin. I work with to NDs, & many of their clients are coming in deficient, & they are recommending they take up to 5000 IU!
A simple blood test will assess where you are - our lady Doc attended a conference this summer, & said they were seeing almost NO Cancer, & almost NO osteoporosis when folks were taking 10,000 IU of D-3 daily!! At that level, one does need to work with a doctor, & blood tests are recommended; but even the MD (Kevin O'Neil) said there are very few risks, & many benefits, in higher Vit D than we've thought, . . . & with a senior population, it's often easiest to take 50,000 once a month!

Optimal aging includes: life satisfaction, social participation, self reliance, coping ability, setting new goals.

Exercise, exercise, exercise! Walking, weight training, working on balance; water aerobics, etc. If you have kids, make sure they're moving! If you have a desk job, learn some stretches to do at your desk, take the stairs, take a walk for your break, . . . "We are largely responsible for our own success or failure in aging well!"

These are his recommendations for folks over 65, or 50-64 with chronic problems:

Do moderate (can carry on conversation) exercise 30 min a day, 5 days a week
Do vigorous intense aerobic exercise 20 min / day, 3 days / week
Do 8-10 strength training exercises, 10-15 reps of each, 2 - 3 x week
if you're at risk for falling, do balance exercises (TAI CHI or QIGONG are great!)
have a physical activity plan!

After the workshop, I spoke to the director, & may be offering a Tai Chi class to the residents!
& this winter, my 8 yr old grand daugher will be in Nutcracker!

* Oh, & what was that exercise that offers a 76% risk reduction for getting Alzheimer's?? One of my favorites - Ballroom Dance!! Esp. Tango! Currently, I'm taking 'Round Dance' classes, put on by our local square dance club! Basically, ballroom done in a circle, & bit easier on the guys, as a 'cuer' tells you the moves!

Put on the music . . . .


Caroline said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Great info you have here. I do understand about advertising your services (not my forte either).

I am a big advocate of exercise! I see my Mom who is 73 and she did not exercise...it shows. She has many physical problems.

Jane Valencia said...

When I lived in the SF Bay Area, one of my great joys was walking through our city's central park, which has a Japanese tea garden and an Asian Senior Center. A few mornings a week about 70 Asian seniors would gather and do Tai Chi! Absolutely beautiful to watch them. My great dream was/is to join them someday :-). Hurrah for being able to offer Tai Chi to seniors!