Regular exercise lowers mobility issues in old age


Life, Health

Experts recommend that senior citizens exercise regularly along with balance training.

Exercise might help adults prevent or delay disabilities that interfere with independent living. (Photo: Pixabay)

Washington D.C.: Do you want your grandparents to walk or climb stairs without any difficulty? If yes, then encourage them to exercise regularly along with balance training.

Based on the proven health benefits of exercise for older adults, a team of researchers theorised that exercise might also help adults prevent or delay disabilities that interfere with independent living.

The team designed a study to test that theory, and the results were published in the journal of the American Geriatrics Society. They enrolled 1,635 adults between the ages of 70 and 89. All the participants were at high-risk for becoming physically disabled.

At the beginning of the study, the participants were able to walk about five city blocks (one-quarter of a mile) without assistance and were then split into two groups. One group was encouraged to exercise regularly, in addition to taking a daily 30-minute walk, they performed balance training and muscle strengthening exercises.

The other group attended weekly workshops for 26 weeks, followed by monthly sessions in which they provided information about accessing the healthcare system, traveling safely, getting health screenings, and finding reliable sources for health and nutrition education.

The workshop instructors also led the participants in five to 10 minute flexibility or stretching exercise sessions. The researchers gave all the participants thorough tests for disability at the beginning of the study and then at six, 12, 24, and 36 months after the study started.

They reported that people in both groups experienced about the same level of disability after the study. However, people in the exercise group experienced a lower level of severe mobility problems than did people who attended the health workshops.