It is equally as important to exercise regularly at an older age as it is at a younger one. Exercise is an integral part of health because it improves heart function, helps to maintain a healthy weight, and according to the latest findings, helps reduce the risk of serious mobility problems.
Nearly one in four older adults (over the age of 65) has difficulty climbing stairs or walking. Furthermore, about 3.4 million seniors have difficulties taking care of their own personal needs, such as dressing themselves and bathing. The ability to live an independent life in your golden years may be quite difficult if your mobility is limited, but as mentioned, regular exercise has been shown to improve mobility, which in turn will improve a person’s ability to live an independent life.
The researchers of the study already knew that exercise was beneficial for seniors but to test their theory they developed a specialized test and study to confirm their beliefs.
The study enrolled 1,635 adults over the age of 70 who were all at a high risk of developing a disability. At baseline, the participants were able to walk nearly five blocks without assistance. The participants were then split into one of two groups. One group was encouraged to exercise regularly, which included regularly walking and performing strength exercises. The other group took part in workshops over the course of 26 weeks that were followed up by monthly sessions. The workshops provided information about health care, nutrition education, travel safety tips, and how to access healthcare services. The workshops also began with guided stretches for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Tests to measure disability were administered at 6, 12, 24, and 36 months after the study started.
By the end of the study, both groups saw similar level of disability, but those in the regular exercise group had lower levels of severe mobility problems compared to those who attended the workshops.
This is just another study that highlights the importance of regular exercise, especially if your goal while aging is to live independently.
If you haven’t exercised in quite some time, you shouldn’t worry. The rule here is to start off slow and work your way up gradually. This means increasing your distance and the length of your walk, or start by lifting water bottles. Always speak to your doctor about what kind of exercise is best for you in order to prevent complications and injury.