Category Archives: Keeping Active

15 Minutes of Exercise May Add Years to Your Life

By Meredith Melnick


Only about a third of Americans currently meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines for physical health, which advise a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, plus additional strength-training.

Now here’s the good news for the rest of us: just 15 minutes of moderate exercise a day (or 92 minutes per week) was associated with a three-year increase in life expectancy and a 14% reduction in risk of death by any cause, compared with a sedentary lifestyle, according to a new study.

Each additional 15 minutes of daily exercise (up to 100 minutes a day) reduced the risk of death by an additional 4%, the study found, and people who got 30 minutes of activity a day added about four extra years to their life expectancy, compared with their sedentary peers.

The observational study involved more than 400,000 people in Taiwan, who were followed for an average of about eight years.  Researchers gave participants a questionnaire asking about their medical history and lifestyle habits, including how much leisure-time physical activity they got.  Based on the answers, researchers divided them into activity intensity groups: light (walking), moderate (brisk walking), vigorous (jogging) and very vigorous (running).

People were characterized as inactive if they got less than one hour of exercise per week.  Compared with this group, those who got even small amounts of moderate activity daily lived longer.



Since the upcoming National Convening of Aging Professionals is the first of its kind, the GRIOT Circle Blog will serve as a portal to provide insights, address questions and foster clarity around the function, expectations and importance of this event to the LGBT elders of color community.

So here we go, this is post #1 in the Q&A series. Please use the comment tab at the bottom of the post to expand the discussion on this topic.


During the October 12-13, 2011 Convening in Washington, D.C., we will engage in very active discussions around identifying multiple variables that have contributed to the isolation, stigmatization, poor health outcomes and alienation of the LGBT POC elder community.  There will also be discussions and strategy-building for the implementation of best practices to ensure equal access to culturally competent care.  Out of this convening will emerge a policy research/writing committee and an operational structure for a National Network.


“Wisdom is knowing what to do next.  Virtue is doing it.” ~ David Starr Jordan.

This convening will mark the creation of an innovative National interagency LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) POC (People of Color) aging communication network.  The Convening is a public action statement to the urgency of addressing issues of chronic health disparities among this population.

Racial and ethnic minorities have higher morbidity and mortality from chronic diseases.  The consequences can range from greater financial burden to higher activity limitations.  Among older adults, a higher proportion of African Americans and Latinos, compared to Whites, report to have at least one of seven chronic conditions — asthma, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, or anxiety/depression.  These rank among the most costly medical conditions in America.  African Americans and American Indians/Alaska Natives are more likely to be limited in an activity (e.g., work, walking, bathing, or dressing) due to chronic conditions.

Compounding matters is the fact that LGBT seniors face special difficulties as well.  These seniors are “twice-hidden” due to social discrimination on two levels: ageism and homophobia or heterosexism.  LGBT seniors of color have the additional burden of chronic environmental stressors rooted in racism that has been shown to be a major contributor to disabling health conditions.


Not exactly.  Town hall meetings are an informal public meeting where everybody in a town community are invited to attend, not always to voice their opinions, but to hear the responses from public figures and (if applicable) elected officials about shared subjects of interest.

This Convening is an assembling of carefully selected/referred national POC professionals and elders all of whom have proven records of health care justice advocacy for the elderly and for the LGBT POC elderly in particular.  One of the principal goals is the exploration of adult transformational learning strategies and the collective discovery of new/innovative solutions to the health crisis faced by LGBT POC elders.

This Convening follows a definite structure intended to maximize the contributions of those experts who have confirmed their attendance and participation.  The whole experience is interactive and experiential.  There will be two panels, two workshops, but the heart of the Convening will center on small group work, each group assigned specific topics and specific  outcomes.

We continue this dialogue next week, please check back for more insights on the National Convening of Aging Professionals, or simply put your email address in the GET GRIOT BLOG UPDATES slot in the left column to receive alerts of new posts on the GRIOT Circle Blog.

Now THIS is a Great Dose of Inspiration

“My new inspiration!!  I received my motorcycle license at age 61. 

Now I plan to ride for another 15 years at least LOL!!”  L.

Click the red link below to see video —>

THIS is an Inspirational Portrayal of the Power of the Human Spirit.



Addresses disparities in services to LGBT POC older adults

[New York, NY]  On October 12-13, 2011 GRIOT Circle, in collaboration with the POC Committee of the LAIN/American Society of Aging, and with generous support from AARP and funding from Atlantic Philanthropic, will bring together national leaders on aging for the first National Convening of its kind to address the needs/concerns of this traditionally under-served population.

Hosted by AARP at the Brickfield Center at 601 East St. NW, Washington, DC on October 12-13, 2011.  The National Convening of Aging Professionals will provide insight into economic and health disparities that are services/care-based to the LGBT POC (People of Color) elder communities, a population that continues to heavily bear the brunt of stigmatization and social isolation.

Areas to be covered include: Social Security, housing, supportive services, HIV/STD prevention, culturally competent research and training, health literacy disparities, ethno-geriatrics, and other challenges for LGBT POC seniors, policy reform (LGBT POC specific), and the creation of a National Professional Network around POC LGBT Aging.

Confirmed participants/attendees include: Kathy Greenlee, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Aging, Administration on Aging (AoA), Jay Blackwell, Director, Office of Minority Health-Resource Center (OMH-RC), Christopher Bates, E.D., Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), Tony Sarmiento, E.D., Senior Service America, Inc. (SSAI), Mandy Carter, Co-founder of National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) and 2005 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Senator Benjamin J.F. Cruz, Vice Speaker, 31st Guam Legislature, Mario Tapia, CEO, Latino Center on Aging (LCA), and Aisha C. Young, CEO, African Americans in Gerontology (AAIG).

“I am delighted you are doing this historic convening” –Renowned social justice activist and former Arcus Foundation Executive Director, Urvashi Vaid.

GRIOT Circle, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)3 organization founded in 1995.  It addresses the needs and concerns of LGBT elders of color in New York City.  Fifteen years later, GRIOT Circle continues to be the only LGBT organization in the nation that exclusively serves the LGBT POC elders 50 and older.  GRIOT is proud to be one of the leading voices on this historic occasion marking a decided shift in the health care paradigm for LGBT POC elders.


Glen-Michael Francis, 718-246-2775 |

Queers for Economic Justice supports Convening, read Letter from QEJ.

The Audre Lorde Project supports Convening, read Letter from ALP.

Everyone’s a Little Bi-curious

You don’t have to be a resident of Houston, Los Angeles or Miami to realize most everyone you encounter is bilingual.  Last week I took the leap, broke through my fear and claimed the courage to start learning Spanish.  I found free beginner classes at a local library.  That day I was one of two newcomers to the class of just nine students, most of whom are retirees who work part-time and refuse to stop learning.  I was off to a slow start since my classmates have been students of Miss Nellie for a year, and others for just two weeks.  After the one-hour class some students approached me to offer encouragement to return since I seemed to struggle.  Then we sat and talked for an hour about our housing horror stories, discovered similar interests and planned to meet for cocktails.

So what’s holding you back from at least learning the basics of a language that  has popped up all around you or interests you or would give you an advantage socially or professionally?  Demographic statistics from a 2008 report reveal 34% of the population in America speaks Spanish.  In most demographic reports tracking ethnic cultures, Spanish influence has been on a steady upswing.  But French and Italian can also be fun and useful in your daily routine.  It’s often easier to read about getting started on a new project than actually launching through the start gate.  So for an added nudge here are some tips to help you take the next step to being less bi-curious and actually bilingual:

> Get a friend to enroll with you and be your practice sounding board, and vice versa.  If your friends are reluctant, rest assured you will make new friends in the class who will be eager to be practice pals.

> Set realistic goals like learning the most common greetings, statements and questions asked in public settings.  And don’t rush the process, keep it fun.  Learn at your pace.

>  Ask the librarian at a nearby branch to search their computer database for free community classes.  Also inquire at local community centers.  You may be required to make a copy of a page or two for your use in each session.  The best part is there are no tests to take!

Did you or someone you know just start a language class,  how is it going?  Is this something you have been putting off, why?

GRIOT at Brooklyn Pride Reception