Exercise and Physical Activity - The Gathering Place, An Adult Day Center

  • "SuperAgers" show possible new link between social engagement, cognitive health

    Scientific evidence about the importance of remaining socially engaged as we age continues to grow. Participating in social activities, such as visiting friends, volunteering, and getting out for events and trips, has been associated with better cognitive function, while low social engagement in late life has been associated with an increased risk of dementia (Krueger, 2009; Saczynski, 2006). Other research has shown that support from a spouse/partner and friends alleviates loneliness and improves well-being in older adults. Recent findings from Dr. Emily Rogalski and colleagues at Northwestern University studying cognitive “SuperAgers” add more evidence about the importance of positive social relationships (Maher, 2017).

    Who are cognitive SuperAgers?

    3 men sitting together on a bench and laughingNorthwestern’s SuperAgers cohort is made up of people age 80 and older whose episodic memory (memories of past personal events) is comparable to people 25 to 30 years younger (age 50-65). Over the seven years the research team has followed this group, their episodic memory test scores have not declined significantly, indicating remarkably resilient memory. What factors contribute to their elite performance?

  • Bionic Movements: Connecting Mind and Machine

    When you lose the use of a limb, even the simplest of daily tasks can turn into a challenge. High-tech devices can help restore independence. New technologies are even making it possible to connect the mind to an artificial limb. These artificial limbs are called bionic prosthetic devices.

    “To get back some of that lost function, you need some sort of assistive tool or technology to either enhance recovery or restore the capability of the anatomy that’s missing now,” says Dr. Nick Langhals, who oversees NIH-supported prosthetic engineering research.

    This fast-moving research aims to improve people’s lives by restoring both movement and feeling.

  • Getting a good night’s sleep before doing the housework

     A study published in BMC Public Health finds that elderly men across Europe and the US spend less time on housework than elderly women. The study also finds that, while those who do more housework feel healthier, women who do long hours of housework combined with too much or too little sleep report poorer health. We take a closer look at the research. 

  • How To Do Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises

    pelvic floor muscle exercises

    Pelvic floor muscle exercises can help both men and women who leak urine by making the muscles that hold urine in the bladder stronger.

    Here’s how to do pelvic floor muscle exercises.

    1. Tighten the pelvic muscles that you use to prevent gas from escaping.
    2. Continue tightening the muscles going to the front of the pelvic area.
    3. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds before releasing. (If 5 seconds is too long, hold for as long as you can. Over time, try to hold longer until you reach 5 seconds.)
    4. Repeat 5 to 10 times. (If you can’t do 5 sets, start with 1 or 2. Over time, try to increase to 5.)

    Also practice contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles quickly for 10 seconds. (If 10 seconds is too long, start with less time.) Do this 5 to 10 times. (If you can’t make it to 5 sets, start with fewer sets.)

  • Maintaining A Healthy Weight

    Maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health and well-being.

    Older people who don’t get enough of the right nutrients can be too thin or too heavy. Some may be too thin because they don’t get enough food. But others might be overweight partly because they get too much of the wrong types of foods. Keeping track of what you are eating could help you see which foods you should eat less of, more of, or not at all.

  • Stay Safe When Exercising in Cold Weather

    Exercise has benefits all year, even during winter. But before you brave the cold, take a few extra steps to stay safe. Exposure to cold can cause health problems such as hypothermia, a dangerous drop in body temperature.

    If you want to walk, ski, ice skate, shovel snow, or do other outdoor activities when it’s cold outside:

    • Check the weather forecast. If it’s very windy or cold, exercise inside with Go4Life videos on YouTube, and go out another time.

    • Also watch out for snow and icy sidewalks.

    • Warm up your muscles first. Try walking or light arm pumping before you go out.

    • Wear several layers of loose clothing. The layers will trap warm air between them.

    • Avoid tight clothing, which can keep your blood from flowing freely and lead to loss of body heat.

    • Wear a waterproof coat or jacket if it’s snowy or rainy.

    • Wear a hat, scarf, and gloves.

    • Know the signs of hypothermia.
  • Staying Motivated to Stay Active

    Time, money, and energy are common barriers to exercise. Overcome these barriers and get motivated to stay active.  Physical activity is a great way for older adults to gain substantial health benefits and maintain independence. To make physical activity a routine habit , choose activities and exercises that are fun, motivate you, and keep you interested.