Tags: moderate | activity | exercise | adults | older | independence

Moderate Activity Helps Older Adults Maintain Independence

Moderate Activity Helps Older Adults Maintain Independence

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By    |   Monday, 03 October 2016 11:56 AM


Staying active can help older adults maintain their independence and recover from major disabilities more quickly, according to a study led by Yale University researchers.


Keeping seniors healthy and independent as they grow older becomes even more important as their overall numbers increase.


More than 46 million Americans are 65 years old or older, totaling about 14.5 percent of the population, and their numbers are expected to grow by 2040 to be 21.7 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


In the randomized trial, researchers compared the effects of a structured physical activity program, which included a walking routine and other moderate activities, to those of a health education program on more than 1,600 adults between the ages of 70 and 89.


The participants were not disabled but were sedentary and had some physical limitations. The activity program consisted mainly of walking, in addition to strength, flexibility, and balance-training exercises.


During the course of three-and-a-half years, participants were assessed for major mobility disability, which was defined as the inability to walk a quarter mile.

Older adults need to be able to walk this distance to participate in many activities and maintain their independence, according to the researchers.


The researchers found that those who participated in the physical activity program reduced the total time suffered from major disability by 25 percent when compared to those who participated in the health education program.


Even if a participant experienced a disability, those in the activity program were more likely to recover and less likely to have a subsequent incident.


"Our report strengthens the evidence supporting the benefit and long-term value of physical activity in promoting independent mobility among a growing population of vulnerable older persons," said first author Dr. Thomas Gill.


"Interventions to promote independent mobility should focus not only on preventing the initial occurrence of disability, but also on restoring and maintaining independent mobility in older persons who become disabled," Gill noted.


The study, which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, used information drawn from the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) Study — the largest and longest trial of physical activity in older people.


According to a report issued by the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 40 percent of seniors have at least one disability. Of those, two-thirds say they have difficulty walking or climbing.
 

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Staying active can help older adults maintain their independence and recover from major disabilities more quickly, according to a study led by Yale University researchers. Keeping seniors healthy and independent as they grow older becomes even more important as their...
moderate, activity, exercise, adults, older, independence
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2016-56-03
Monday, 03 October 2016 11:56 AM
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