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Seniors Get A Leg Up On Fitness with Ping Pong Dr. Oz gives Ping Pong a “Thumbs Up” for seniors by Eileen Greene

PING PONG to the rescue! Iʼm in disbelief that at age 85 and 86, my husband Marty

Dr. Alex Kaliakin, DC

Cutting-Edge Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy

Improving Balance for Seniors... for YOU! BALANCE problems and resultant

falls are a significant mortality, morbidity and health care cost factor for the elderly especially over 70 years of age. The public and most healthcare providers are unaware that this is a treatable and preventable phenomenon. Factors involved include: • Dysfunction of the inner ear (vestibular system). • Brain (cerebellum and brain stem).

• •

Musculoskeletal system (back-spine).

Pelvis, Hips, Knees, Ankles, Legs, Muscles, etc. • Nerves (neuropathy) and other health issues (diabetes), etc. Correcting balance problems begins with a patientʼs primary and/or specialty (ENT) and a comprehensive physical medical evaluation assessing the above issues. This can involve a VENG test (videoelectronystagmography) we perform at our CliniCare Spinal Rehab Medical Group facility on a regular basis specific for purposes of analyzing a patientʼs balance difficulties. With a proper diagnosis, an individualized balance physical therapy treatment program can be initiated. The typical hour therapy session shown in a patientʼs video includes general cardio type exercise, per the patients tolerance. Included can be one of two types of bicycles, upper body ergonometer (arm bikeUBE), and treadmill. Research shows that vigorous exercise is a significant way to improve and maintain brain function due to the demands on the brain to coordinate all of the musculature and body functions. Another component of therapy is specific balance exercises. Seen in a patientʼs video is the patient bouncing on a swiss ball which exercises the legs and is a core stabilization exercise. The mini trampoline/

Falls are the leading cause of death due to injury among the elderly. One third of those over 65 fall each year which acccounts for 87% of all fractures in the elderly. Falls account for 25% of all hospital admissions, 40% of all nursing home admissions; 40% of those admitted do not return to independent living; 25% die within a year. rebounder exercises the legs, circulation and can be done with arthritic knees, backs, etc. The patient also focuses on a point outside which is a brain/eye coordinative exercise. Next, the medicine ball exercise where a patient follows a specific point on the ball while moving it in a circle 10 times each way. This is an extremely important oculomotor exercise for the brain and vestibular systems. The next component of therapy are the VENG exercises using goggles with a camera on the eye. A therapist observes as the patient does two types of exercises while following moving points on the monitor. Position head exercises are for the inner ear/vestibular system, the other are eye exercises for the oculomotor/ brain component. The patient moves onto the KAT balance system where they stand on a movable platform hooked up to a video game type monitor where they move a platform which then moves the cursor on the screen through a maze. This neurologic exercise coordinates ankles, hips and leg function with the brain functions. Lastly, the patient receives a vibratory massage/ myocardial release to the lower extremities, spine and torso, so that the muscles and joints are loosened up after the session. BHT

Clinicare/ Spinal Rehabilitation Medical Group • Board Certified Physicians 1441 Broadway Santa Monica, CA 90404 • 310-393-2225 www.clinicaresantamonica.com • info@clinicaresantamonica.com

and I are addicted to ping pong. In our wildest dreams we never envisioned looking forward to playing this game almost every day, having fun while we get better and better. When our three sons were young we had a ping pong table on our patio, but that was years ago (two sons are now in their 50's and our oldest just turned 60). And as for my husband and I, for nearly 56 of our 66 years of marriage we gratefully enjoyed a life filled with exciting travels and all sorts of sports participation. Our advancing birthdays, however, necessitated radical changes in our lifestyle. As age increased, activities decreased. Marty gave up his private pilot license which afforded us many years of memorable family and friend trips to interesting places. We also had to say goodbye to tennis, water skiing, snow skiing, golf, ballroom dancing and worldwide travels. Changes not to our liking, but ones we had to accommodate. Health professionals agree exercise for the body and mind are very important, especially for seniors. Most focus on walking and swimming as the best exercise for octogenarians. It may be the best exercise, but it was not our favorite, so I tried yoga, T'ai chi, trainers, exercise classes and even attempted lawn bowling. None were substitutes for the active life we had led. Then, while watching the Dr. Oz show a light went off as he went on and on about the benefits of ping pong for seniors. Ping pong? An unlikely choice I would have thought, but I wondered why other doctors hadnʼt thought to follow Dr. Ozʼs lead to encourage ping pong among their patients. As I watched it became clear why Dr. Oz supports the sport, and why more seniors arenʼt enjoying its vast benefits. According to Dr. Oz the game needs hand-eye coordination, quick decision-making and rapid eye movement. The game also requires the brain to do intensely fast analysis. Predicting where the ball will fall demands mental power and constant recalculation. Turns out ping pong can help prevent Alzheimer's as well. Studies show that simple movements within the game of ping pong allow the human brain to grow at any age. Recently, scientists revolutionized our understanding of the brain and came up with a concept called, "Neuroplasticity." Every time we engage in a new activity, a new way of thinking, a new set of movements, a new anything, we create new pathways in our brain. Creating new pathways (Neuropathways) likened to building new muscle tissue in our arms or legs — makes our muscles and bodies stronger. And, new Neuropathways make our brains function better and stronger. Understanding the importance of this new science, our eldest son had a ping-pong table delivered to our home. He set it up outdoors sharing space within a small basketball area and insisted we take lessons, so we are. And itʼs working. We are very quickly playing far beyond our expectations having taken only 17-half hour lessons. Our instructor marvels at Marty's improvement and Iʼm thrilled with mine. This ping pong table is the greatest gift. Fun and comes with health benefits! When we began, Marty could hardly hit the ball back. Now, he's slamming the ball, even beating our son Richard (who enjoyed it more than Marty did!). My reflexes are getting better as well. My husband and I look forward to our lessons and our nightly ping pong games so much we invested in professional paddles, a plastic cover to receive bird 'poop', a special cover for the rain, spectator chairs, we fenced in an area, installed lights and heat lamps, bought a gross amount of ping-pong balls and a device for picking them up. Our ritual is to take off the cover, set up our box of 144 balls on a shelf near the table and play until all balls are all on the ground. Sometimes thatʼs not enough, so we pick up a few more balls and continue as we like to end the night with each of us having a winning shot. Life is fun again, my husband and I are spending more quality time together and we are so inspired that with the enthusiastic encouragement of our teacher, Wei, we entered the "85-year and Over" tournament this past June, just a few days after my birthday, — and won medals. I am now in training for the tournament next year! BHT PingPongGrandma@Gmail.com Visit: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/secret-ping-pong http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/opinion/sunday/ping-pong-head-game.html?_r=1

// bhtmag.com // 37

Beverly Hills Times Magazine October Edition 14  

News and events from Beverly Hills and the greater Los Angeles area.

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