A large study that looked at elderly men and women at a high risk of disability found that structured physical activity at moderate intensity significantly reduced the participants’ risk of disability and outperformed those who participated in a health education class that included upper extremity stretching exercises. The physical activity program was conducted twice a week in a center and an additional 3-4 times per week at home and included aerobic, resistance and flexibility training activities.
Researchers studied the group of 1,635 men and women between the ages of 70 and 89 for over two years. The health education group experienced a 35.5 percent mobility disability. The physical activity group experienced 30.1 percent mobility disability.
One result of the study was that mobility was that researchers defined mobility disability as the ability to walk 400 meters.
Mobility is a major component of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and is an important risk factor for illness, hospitalization, disability and death.
The results of the study suggest the potential for using structured physical activity as a feasible and effective intervention to reduce the burden of disability later in life. To read more about the study, go here.