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Exercise and Disability in Older People

Zoomer Report2019-10-22By: Libby Znaimer

There is more evidence on the benefits of exercise, especially as we age! A study published in the Annals of internal medicine finds that Zoomers who regularly exercise are less likely to suffer a disability — and if they do, they tend to recover faster.

Researchers recruited more than 1,600 sedentary adults ages 70 to 89. They randomly assigned half of them to an exercise program, while the other half attended health education classes.

People in the exercise group did some strength and balance training, but moderate walking was the main activity.

Over the next 3.5 years, people who exercised spent 25 percent less time with a major movement disability — an inability to walk a quarter-mile — compared to the other participants.

Active seniors were 13 percent less likely to develop a movement disability. But the biggest benefit came later: Exercisers were one-third more likely to recover from their injuries – injuries that can otherwise become permanent.

The bottom line, researchers say: It’s never too late to start to reap the benefits of exercise.


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