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Posts tagged: physical activity for specific populations

Watches Are Good, Synchronized Watches Are Better

Written by Tom Richards, Senior Legislative Counsel, IHRSA

As a young kid playing various “war games” in and around the wooded neighborhoods of upstate New York, my friends and I always thought it was essential to synchronize our plastic digital watches, like they did in the movies. Of course, we never performed any maneuvers that would require precise timing, but the act of synchronizing our watches seemed to strengthen the bond among friends and make us more accountable to one another. It was a signal that we were in it together.   

I thought of my old friends as I watched the roll out of Apple’s latest world changing technology.

The Apple Watch electrified the mobile health movement on Tuesday with its integration of several health and fitness applications. With its user-friendly interface and elegant design, the Apple Watch combines the utility of health monitoring devices with humanity’s love affair with touch screens. It’s a very exciting tool that surely represents just the beginning of a new era of wearable technology. Unfortunately, despite its relentless coolness, it can’t lift people off the couch, take them for a walk, or drive them to a gym.

As we’ve discussed previously in this space, there is no one solution that will get the world moving.

But we know there is at least one powerful motivator for physical activity that seems to positively impact a great number of people: the buddy system. 

We may be a more sedentary species than we once were, but we are as social as ever.

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Accessibility is More than Getting in the Door

Written by NCHPAD

It is well reported that exercise is a vital component to leading a healthy lifestyle.  The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAG) are in place to outline and support the minimum amounts of activity that adults, including those with disabilities, should get per week.  For some, achieving the PAG may be a simple feat, but for others, such as people with disabilities, physical activity opportunities might be an exercise in frustration.  People with disabilities are more susceptible to barriers to physical activity most often reported in the areas of architectural, programmatic, and attitudinal.

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Architectural barriers include physical obstacles to inclusion, such as access to buildings or outdoor facilities.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities; Title III of the ADA applies to public accommodations, including fitness centers.  Many people with disabilities can physically enter a fitness center, only to find that there is no equipment accessible to them.  The intent of the ADA is that people of all abilities can equally access all public accommodations; in the case of fitness centers, this means being able to enjoy all membership benefits and access to fitness equipment.  This is not always the case, but efforts to address this barrier and promote universal design are well underway.  In August of 2013, the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) approved two new standards for inclusive fitness equipment.  These standards provide specifications for fitness equipment that is accessible to users of all abilities and will be used to ensure future development and use of fitness equipment that more closely meets the intent of the ADA. 

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The Importance of Exercise for Kids with Arthritis

Written by The Arthritis Foundation | KIDSGETARTHRITISTOO.ORG

Physical activity can boost your child’s ability to move and enjoy life.

We all know exercise is good for us, but the benefits of physical activity for children with juvenile arthritis and related conditions can even be greater – as can the downsides of not being physically active. That’s why it’s especially crucial for kids with arthritis to keep moving.

Fitness Facts 

By and large, studies show that kidswith arthritis are less fit than their healthy counterparts. Specifically, they have less muscle strength and muscle endurance. They also have less aerobic capacity (needed for prolonged exercise) and anaerobic capacity (needed to perform intense bursts of activity); therefore, they tire faster during physical activity than kids who don’t have arthritis even when their disease is inactive.

On the flip side, studies also demonstrate that these conditions can be improved with exercise training. Aerobic and anaerobic capacity can be boosted, and resistance training can increase muscle strength and endurance.

Yes, They Can 

Perhaps the most important thing to know about exercise for children with arthritis is that when done properly it does no harm. They can and should exercise.

Many studies show that land- and water-based exercise is safe, and that joint pain and swelling don’t get worse after exercise programs.

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If Exercise Is Medicine, Will People Fill Their Prescriptions?

Written by IHRSA

On Monday, July 14th, the Healthcare Leadership Council hosted an excellent briefing on non-adherence to medication, highlighting the fact that 1 out of 3 patients never fill their prescriptions, and nearly 3 out of 4 Americans don’t take their medications as directed.

The panelists discussed innovative strategies for improving adherence, such as targeted and timely communication. Each strategy was based on the reality that a one-size-fits-all approach to communication is both inefficient and ineffective. Clearly, the digital age is creating medical providers with new opportunities for engaging patients and tracking their adherence, but there are no simple solutions for getting folks to take their medicine.

The problem of non-adherence to medication raises an uncomfortable question for physical activity advocates.

If 1/3 of patients are signaling that a visit to the pharmacy is a barrier too high to overcome, and 75% are finding it too difficult to take medication properly, how many patients can we reasonably expect to fill an exercise prescription that typically requires 150 minutes/week of exertion?

Although evidence suggests that patients are more likely to exercise if their doctors prescribe exercise, we suspect very few patients will stick to an exercise program unless medical offices and physical activity providers (e.g. health clubs, personal trainers, community centers) adopt engagement strategies similar to those being implemented by the pharmaceutical industry for medication adherence.

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Use Caution in Young Overhead Athletes with Shoulder Pain

Written by Dr. David Geier, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

As participation in youth sports increases and younger children are playing a single sport year round, it is no wonder that more young athletes are being seen in doctors’ offices in this country. For throwing sports like baseball and overhead sports like swimming and tennis, shoulder pain is a common complaint.

Little League Shoulder (LLS) is an overuse injury to the proximal humerus (upper arm) originally described in young baseball players. In a presentation at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting*, researchers from Children’s Hospital Boston, Division of Sports Medicine presented the findings from cases of Little League Shoulder seen at their center between 1999 and 2013. They analyzed patients from that 15-year period to better understand the demographics, symptoms, risk factors and treatment outcomes of LLS.

Patient demographics

Of the 95 cases of Little League Shoulder, 93 of the patients (98%) were male, with an average age of 13.1 years. The ages of the patients ranged from 8 to 16 years old.

97% of the LLS patients were baseball players, and 86% of those were pitchers. 3% of the LLS patients were tennis players.

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Global Comparisons of Youth Physical Activity

Written by the National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP) Alliance

Less than a month after the NPAPA and other supporting organizations released the U.S. Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, international results were presented at the first Global Summit on the Physical Activity of Children in Toronto, Canada (May 21-24).

Hosted by Active Healthy Kids Canada, the summit brought together research teams from 15 countries to compare physical activity report card grades and discuss solutions to childhood inactivity. The results of the global comparison were shared with over 700 international delegates attending the summit and were also published in a Journal of Physical Activity and Health, Supplemental Issue.

Among the six grades assigned to the U.S., key grades and comparisons included:

Based on the report card grades presented above, we want to hear from you!

What are your initial reactions to the U.S. grades?

Compared to other countries, how would you rate the activity levels of U.S. kids?

What areas should the U.S. focus on to increase American kids’ active levels?

What are your suggestions for improving our children’s opportunities for physical activity, especially in areas where the U.S. did not score well (e.g. active transportation)?

The NPAPA has identified several strategies and tactics in the National Physical Activity Plan to improve physical activity among U.S. children. If successfully implemented, these strategies and tactics can positively impact youth activity levels and increase U.S. Report Card grades.

Commentary from Cornell McClellan: Masters athletes face unique physiological and nutritional challenges

Read the entire June 2014 issue of Elevate Health, from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (PCFSN).