Turns out, a regular program of structured physical activity, performed in the clinical setting, could reduce mobility loss in older adults.
In a pilot study conducted at the Tufts University, the researchers attempted to translate the physical activity benefits in older people.
It revealed that bringing the physical activity intervention from a controlled clinical environment into a community-based setting for older adults was safe and feasible. Participants demonstrated sustained improvements in their mobility over the six-month study period.
Further, the researchers noted that the physical activity program was associated with increases in executive cognitive function, improvements in quality of life, and a notable reduction in the occurrence of falls. No serious adverse events occurred among physical activity participants during the study.
"The overarching objective of the pilot study was to translate the physical activity program from a rigorously controlled clinical setting to a representative, real-world environment for older adults. We wanted to test whether the physical activity intervention could be safely and effectively integrated within the existing infrastructure of the senior center," said the first author of the study, Kieran F. Reid.
Immobility in old age can lead to lower independence and quality of life and increased risk for falls and chronic disease.
The findings appeared in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.