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Walk To Age Well

By on July 13, 2017     Views: 258
Walk To Age Well

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 on Tuesday in the journal JAMA, reinforce the necessity of frequent physical activity for our aging parents, grandparents and, of course, ourselves.

While everyone knows that exercise is a good idea, whatever your age, the hard, scientific evidence about its benefits in the old and infirm has been surprisingly limited.

“For the first time, we have directly shown that exercise can effectively lessen or prevent the development of physical disability in a population of extremely vulnerable elderly people,” said Dr. Marco Pahor, the director of the Institute on Aging at the University of Florida in Gainesville and the lead author of the study.

Countless epidemiological studies have found a strong correlation between physical activity in advanced age and a longer, healthier life. But such studies can’t prove that exercise improves older people’s health, only that healthy older people exercise.

For this latest study, the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders, or LIFE, trial, scientists at eight universities and research centers around the country began recruiting volunteers in 2010, using an unusual set of selection criteria. Unlike many exercise studies, which tend to be filled with people in relatively robust health who can easily exercise, this trial used volunteers who were sedentary and infirm, and on the cusp of frailty.

The experiment lasted for an average of 2.6 years, which is far longer than most exercise studies. By the end of the experiment, the exercising volunteers were about 18 percent less likely to have experienced any episode of physical disability during the experiment. They were also about 28 percent less likely to have become persistently, possibly permanently disabled, defined as being unable to walk those 400 meters by themselves.

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Timothy Chandler

About Timothy Chandler

Timothy Chandler is a frequent contributor to Smart Life Now. A Michigan native, Chandler grew up on his parents’ farm outside of Detroit. In college, he majored in computer science and went on to work as a consultant in New York’s Financial District. In his free time, when he’s not writing or cycling, he loves heading down to the racetrack with his car club.

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