Fitness 2019

By: Edgar Schafer

In addition to helping you perform, we want to keep you informed!

From time to time, we come across wellness-related articles that we consider worthy of passing along to you.

Here’s an excerpt from one such article by Pete McCall, an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, covering a few things we learned about fitness in 2019. Enjoy!

1. Aerobic Exercise Could Help Improve Memory in Older Adults

In a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, a team at McMaster University found that older adults who participated in high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts experienced up to 30% improvements in short-term memory, while participants in moderate-intensity exercise did not experience the same outcomes. The study group included older adults between the ages of 60 and 88 who exercised three times a week for 12 weeks.

“It’s never too late to get the brain benefits of being physically active, but if you are starting late and want to see results fast, our research suggests you may need to increase the intensity of your exercise,” says Dr. Jennifer Heisz, an associate professor in the department of Kinesiology at McMaster University and lead author of the study.

2. The Benefits of Cardiac Rehabilitation for Older Adults

French researchers reviewed the effects of cardiovascular exercise on older adults in an attempt to compare the effects of a cardiac rehabilitation program for participants divided into groups of individuals less than age 65, those between 65 and 80 years old and those over the age of 80. The study, published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, followed more than 700 participants over the course of two years and found that exercise improved capacity in all groups, regardless of age, and those who started exercising, even in their “later years” were able to experience important benefits.

“Older adults who are eligible for cardiac rehabilitation have a decreased likelihood of receiving a referral compared to their younger counterparts,” explains Dr. Codie Rouleau, a study author and an adjunct assistant professor in psychology at the University of Burgundy Franche-Comte in Dijon, France. “The present report may serve as a catalyst for clinicians to recognize that older adults with coronary artery disease stand to benefit if referred and given the opportunity to participate.”

3. Exercise Can Improve the Mental Health of Older Adults

It is well known that exercise is good for the physiological systems of the body regardless of age; this past year research published in the American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology suggests that exercise can help support mental health as well by reducing the risk of depression in older adults. Previous research has shown that exercise can change the levels of neurotransmitters that can affect overall mental health. This study sought to answer the question about whether sarcopenia—the loss of muscle mass—that occurs during aging would affect the ability to use exercise as a treatment for depression in older adults. The study concluded that men over the age of 65 who participated in high-intensity workouts designed to increase muscle mass experienced mental health benefits over the course of the 12-week study period.

4. Exercise Could Improve Cognitive Function in Older Adults

A team from the University of Iowa found that even a single bout of exercise can have a change on brain function in older adults. In experiments that included exercise, brain imagery and a memory test, the study participants showed that exercise can help improve memory in both the short term and over the long run. Brain scans were able to show how one bout of physical activity could have an immediate impact on the function of the organ, which could help develop further understandings of the relationship between exercise and recall memory. This provides further evidence that regular physical activity can not only change the physiological functions of the body but could also help improve cognitive performance of the brain, even during the latter years of the aging process.

If you would like to read the rest of Pete McCall’s article, you can find it here.