Keeping fit while aging focus for int'l conference

North America's top authorities on fitness and aging will gather at UBC Feb. 21-23 for the Strength and Conditioning International Conference.

Entitled Changing Aging and Training the Master's Athlete, the conference will address a broad range of issues associated with physical health, fitness, training and the aging population. Conference speakers range from doctors and medical researchers to coaches and fitness trainers.

"Fitness professionals and the public are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of exercise in the aging process," said conference organizer Sonya Lumholst-Smith, co-ordinator of Campus Recreation and Fitness at UBC. "Programs aimed at helping people remain fit as they age are springing up across North America. This conference reflects the importance of this movement, beyond just trend status, and UBC's commitment to staying at the forefront of it."

Dr. Walter Bortz, past president of the American Geriatrics Society and co-chair of the American Medical Association Task Force on Aging, will open the conference as the first of three keynote speakers. Bortz is a specialist in internal medicine and clinical associate professor of medicine at Stanford University and author of Dare To Be 100. He is also a marathon runner with 22 marathons behind him.

Ken Kambis, an exercise physiologist and director of the Borgenicht Program for Aging Studies and Exercise Science at Virginia's College of William and Mary, will give a keynote talk entitled Living Proof -- Regaining Strength, Flexibility and Endurance. Kambis holds several other academic appointments and also works as a consultant specializing in exercise equipment and training facilities for retirement communities.

The third keynote speaker is Judy Glenney, an athlete and coach recognized for her contribution to and knowledge of the sport of weightlifting. A pioneer in women's weightlifting, Glenney has won four U.S. national championships and continues to compete as a master's athlete. She is the commissioner for the 1998 Nike World Master's Games to be held in the U.S.

Other speakers include power training and fitness expert Bill Pearl, author of Getting Stronger; Canadian adventurer Don Starkell of Winnipeg who canoed from Winnipeg to the mouth of the Amazon River and also completed a solo journey by canoe from Churchill, Man., to Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T.; and Prof. Ben Hurley, one of North America's leading researchers on health aspects and risk factors associated with strength training and older adults.

Prof. Mike Houston, director of UBC's School of Human Kinetics, will also speak at the conference. Houston has a specific interest in the role of training and nutrition in promoting fitness and how this role changes through all stages of life. He has coached and trained many top athletes and teams at the university level. He has also trained professional teams including the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers.

Lumholst-Smith said the conference will be of particular interest to professionals in fitness and training, and to doctors, medical researchers, health care workers and others with an interest in fitness and aging. For further information call the conference hotline at 224-0227.