"If you aren't seeing a chiropractor, you must be on drugs."

July 25, 2006 [Volume 7, Issue 16]

In this issue of To Your Health:

  • Never Too Old to Exercise
  • Better Diet, Better Cholesterol Profile
  • Low Back Pain in Women: Hormonal Influences

Never Too Old to Exercise

You're never too old to live healthy. Changes in diet and the addition of exercise into your lifestyle can make significant differences to your health and overall wellness.

In a study published in the Journal of Aging and Health and conducted at the University of South Florida School of Aging, Professor Ross Andel and co-researcher Robert Simons, executive director of the Bonsai Holistic Spa and Wellness Center in Largo, Florida, demonstrated a noticeable increase in body strength, flexibility, balance and agility in study participants. The 64 volunteers, ranging in age from 66 to 96, were divided into a walking group, a resistance training group and a control group that did not exercise. In the training group, warm-ups, stretching and flexibility exercises were followed by workouts on resistance training equipment.

The walking and resistance training groups both benefited from the study, suggesting that physical activity can offset physical declines that come with aging and preserve functionality among seniors. Your doctor of chiropractic can tell you more about the benefits of consistent exercise and help outline a program suitable to your needs.

Simons R, Andel R. The effects of resistance training and walking on functional fitness in advanced old age. Journal of Aging and Health 2006;18(1):91-105.

Better Diet, Better Cholesterol Profile

A recent study suggests that a change in diet may supersede the need for cholesterol-lowering medication. The drawback for some and the plus for others (depending on your eating habits) may be the necessary inclusion of tofu and oatmeal in the diet.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and headed up by Dr. Cyril Kendall and David Jenkins of the University of Toronto, included 55 middle-aged women and men. Members of the research group, already following a healthy diet, were told to include specific foods such as tofu and other soy foods, raw almonds, oatmeal, barley, okra, eggplant and plant sterol-enriched margarine. Those who faithfully followed the newly prescribed diet lowered their cholesterol by an average of 29 percent after one year. Other participants who did not follow the diet as strictly as others still lowered their cholesterol by 10 percent to 20 percent.

If you're not used to eating healthy, you may have trouble adhering to this type of diet, which also includes low-fat dairy products, smaller portions of lean meat and skinless poultry, and substituting soy products for meat as much as possible. However, as you can see from the results, the benefits are substantial.

Kendall C, Jenkins D, Faulkner D, et al. Assessment of the longer-term effects of a dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods in hypercholesterolemia. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2006;83:582-591.

Low Back Pain in Women: Hormonal Influences

Women, take note -- you may be at particular risk for developing an all-too-common common ailment: low back pain. In a study that included 11,428 women, hormonal and reproductive factors were associated with LBP.

The researchers used information from a study of the general population, ages 20 to 59, in three towns in different regions of the Netherlands, that evaluated risk factors for chronic diseases. Female participants were given a physical exam and asked to fill out a questionnaire.

Duration of oral contraceptive use, number of children, estrogen use during menopause, young maternal age at first birth, irregular or prolonged menstruation, and hysterectomies were associated with chronic LBP. The researchers concluded that factors related to an increase in estrogen may be the common thread.

Wijnhoven H, Vet H, Smit H, et al. Hormonal and reproductive factors are associated with chronic low back pain and chronic upper extremity pain in women - the MORGEN study. Spine 2006;31(13):1496-1502.