Aerobics no Stretch for Older Adults
Reported October 27, 2009
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Just three months of aerobic activity could
reap huge benefits for older adults with Type 2 diabetes by improving the
elasticity in their arteries, thereby reducing their risk of heart disease
Dr. Kenneth Madden, a geriatric specialist at the University of British
Columbia, studied adults between the ages of 65 to 83 with controlled Type 2
diabetes, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol to see how
increased activity might affect stiffness of the arteries. "The theory is
that aerobic activity makes your arteries less stiff and makes artery walls
more elastic," Dr. Madden was quoted as saying.
The group that performed the activity saw an improvement in the elasticity
of their arteries, compared to those who didn't exercise. According to Dr.
Madden, "There was an impressive drop in arterial stiffness after just three
months of exercise. In that time we saw a 15 to 20 per cent reduction."
"Almost everyone can benefit from active living," Dr. Beth Abramson,
spokesperson for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, was quoted as saying. "The
Foundation recommends that, like adults of any age, older adults – with the
consent of their physicians - need 30 to 60 minutes of moderate activity
most days of the week."
"There seems to be a knee-jerk reluctance to getting these older adults to
exercise,” said Dr. Madden, “yet we used a vigorous level of activity and
didn't have any trouble keeping participants in our study. They enjoyed the
activity. People always underestimate what older adults can do."
Dr. Madden noted that realistically, seniors need someone to help them get
"We need to learn how to do it effectively and how to do it safely," he
Dr. Abramson recommended that seniors choose activities they enjoy, such as
walking, gardening, golfing, dancing, or joining a yoga or tai chi class. If
weather is a barrier, she suggested climbing stairs at home, joining a
mall-walking group, or strolling the halls of their apartment building.
SOURCE: Presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, Edmonton,
Alberta, October 25, 2009