January 26th, 2008

ozarque figure

Eldering; deconditioning; resources online...

First, my thanks to janetmk for posting a link to the "Exercise Guide" for elders from the National Institute on Aging, at http://www.nia.nih.gov/HealthInformation/Publications/ExerciseGuide . This guide seems to me to be very thorough and sensible; it covers multiple aspects of exercise in old age, includes all the necessary warnings, and has excellent illustrations.

I then went to Google looking for some resources on the effects of "mental rehearsal"/"visualization" on muscle strength, and found very slim pickings. There were links to many research reports, but they were available to subscribers only, or had to be purchased. Articles with open access tended to be overwhelmingly "motivational," with no references to (and no data from) the research studies they claimed to be based on.

I did find two items that I think are worth your time:

1. "The power of intention," by Lynne McTaggart, from the January/February 2007 issue of Ode, at http://www.odemagazine.com/doc/40/the_power_of_intention . Here's a relevant sample:

"Besides improving performance, mental intention can produce actual physiological changes-in the bodies of both average people and top athletes. Guang Yue, an exercise psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, carried out research with ordinary Americans, comparing people who went to the gym with people who carried out virtual workouts in their heads. Those who regularly visited the gym were able to increase their muscle strength by 30 percent. But those who remained in their armchairs and ran through a mental rehearsal of the weight training in their minds increased muscle power by almost half as much.

"Volunteers between 20 and 35 years old imagined flexing one of their biceps as hard as they could during daily training sessions carried out five times a week. After ensuring that the participants weren't doing any actual exercise, including tensing their muscles, the researchers discovered an astonishing 13.5 percent increase in muscle size and strength after just a few weeks, an advantage that remained for three months after the mental training stopped."

2. An abstract of the article "From mental power to muscle power-gaining strength by using the mind," by Vinoth K. Ranganathan, Vlodek Siemionow, Jing Z. Liu, Vinod Sahgal, and Guang H. Yue, at http://tinyurl.com/2a6otc .

If you have additional resources to suggest, I'll be glad to post them, or to post a link to your resource list at your own LJ if that's your preference.

Nonfiction online: "How Verbal Self-Defense Works" at http://people.howstuffworks.com/vsd.htm ; "Why Are Old Women Older Than Old Men And How Can We Fix That?" at http://www.seniorwomen.com/articles/articlesElginOld.html ; Religious Language Newsletter archive at http://www.forlovingkindness.org . Fiction online: "We Have Always Spoken Panglish" at http://www.sfwa.org/members/elgin/Story-Panglish.html ; "What The EPA Don't Know Won't Hurt Them" at http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/stories/epa.htm ; "Weather Bulletin" at http://www.sfwa.org/members/elgin/Weather.html ; "A Quorum Of Grandmothers" at http://www.sfwa.org/members/elgin/QuorumOfGrandmothers.html ; The Communipaths at http://www.jackiepowers.com/SuzetteHadenElgin/TheCommunipaths.html . More stuff at http://www.sfwa.org/members/elgin/SiteMap.html ; LiveJournal blog index at http://www.livejournal.com/tools/memories.bml?user=ozarque .