It’s something we’ve all heard: Exercise can help keep older adults healthy. But a new study, the first of its kind to focus on frail, older adults, proves that physical activity can help these people maintain their mobility and dodge physical disability. The University of Florida study shows daily moderate physical activity may mean the difference between seniors being able to keep up everyday activities or becoming housebound. In fact, moderate physical activity helped aging adults maintain their ability to walk at a rate 18 percent higher than older adults who did not exercise.
As we age, losing the ability to walk a short distance often means losing independence. Now researchers say they have found a treatment that, for some, can prevent the loss of mobility.
The prescription: a moderate exercise program. The program of walking, strength training, stretches and balance exercises was tested on sedentary adults ages 70 to 89, all of whom started out in declining physical condition. Results were published in the medical journal JAMA.
Regular exercise, including walking, significantly reduces the chance that a frail older person will become physically disabled, according to one of the largest and longest-running studies of its kind to date. The results, published in the journal JAMA, reinforce the necessity of frequent physical activity for our aging parents, grandparents and, of course, ourselves.