Mobility Loss? Walk It Off
OK, it may not sound surprising: moderate physical activity may mean the difference between seniors being able to keep up everyday activities or becoming housebound, but it is now indicated by the largest study of its kind (1,635 people and nine research centers across the country) and it does suggest that in the chicken or the egg department, exercise leads to better health, rather than better health leading to exercise. A University of Florida (one of the research sites) news release reports that the study, called the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders, or LIFE, randomly separated participants into two groups. The first group of 818 walked 150 minutes per week and did strength, flexibility and balance training. The second group of 817 attended health education classes and performed stretching exercises. After an average of 2.6 years of observation, the researchers are confident that moderate physical activity helped aging adults maintain their ability to walk at a rate 18 percent higher than older adults who did not exercise, and that prescribed daily physical activity can prevent older adults’ loss of mobility, defined in the study as the ability to walk 400 meters. Read more from the University of Florida.