UT Professor Highlights Benefits of Exercise

KNOXVILLE — Even a little movement each day may help to keep the aches and pain away. According to Diane Klein, professor of gerontology at the University of Tennessee, exercise is something everyone, especially older adults, can do.

Klein will share the benefits of exercise this Friday at noon during her UT Science Forum presentation, “Use It or Lose It! Any Body Can Exercise, Even at 92.”

Klein and post-doctoral Fellow Martha Rider have helped older adults experience the positive effects of exercise since March 2006, when they established Any Body Can. Nearly 80 people are participating in the research exercise program at the Clinton and Kingston community centers, according to Klein, who has researched topics on aging, physical activity and wellness.

“Exercise is so important for older adults because they are losing physical function as they age,” she said. “Some things, such as tying shoes, reaching shelves, and mobility can become difficult.”

Older adults in Klein’s programs use small hand weights to boost upper body strength, and also utilize gravity to increase lower body stability.

“A few have actually found themselves losing weight and getting more energy,” said Klein. “One woman’s physician noticed a lowered heart rate, and another lady only uses her cane outdoors now.”

Although the first phase of Klein’s research on improving functional status will end in November, the exercise programs are here to stay.

“We have members of the community who are trained peer leaders at the sites,” Klein said. “We’re hoping the peer leader program keeps the people there longer.”

Klein also noted that all people have the opportunity to exercise.

“Walking up and down stairs, and even walking around this [UT] campus will give someone exercise,” says Klein, who makes time for personal fitness. “I’m always telling my students to start small and build upon it because every little bit helps.”

The UT Science Forum is held every Friday, from noon to 1 p.m., in the Thompson-Boling Arena, Dining Room C-D.

Upcoming Science Forum topics include the following:
• “Advances in Radiation Therapy,” Friday, Oct. 20, by Dr. Chet Ramsey, medical physicist, Thompson Cancer Survival Center.

• “How the Concept of Number Emerged,” Friday, Oct. 27, by Professor Bill Wade, Professor of Mathematics.

• “Lifelong Learning & Lasting Love: What Can Neuroscience Teach Us?” Friday, November 3, by Professor Sandra Twardosz, Child and Family Studies

Contacts:

Jay Mayfield, media relations, (865-974-9409, jay.mayfield@tennessee.edu)

Diane Klein, assistant professor, Dept. of Exercise, Sport, & Leisure, (865-974-0294, dklein1@utk.edu)

Mark Littmann, forum organizer, (865-974-8156,
littmann@utk.edu)