MedicineWorld.Org
Your gateway to the world of medicine
Home
News
Cancer News
About Us
Cancer
Health Professionals
Patients and public
Contact Us
Disclaimer

Medicineworld.org: Regular walking nearly halves elderly disability risk

Back to society news Blogs list Cancer blog  


Subscribe To Society News RSS Feed  RSS content feed What is RSS feed?

Regular walking nearly halves elderly disability risk




Elderly adults can decrease their risk of disability and increase their likelihood of maintaining independence by 41 percent by participating in a walking exercise program, as per a new University of Georgia study.

The study, which appears in the current issue of the Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy, also observed that walking program participants increased their peak aerobic capacity by 19 percent when in comparison to a control group and increased their physical function by 25 percent.



Regular walking nearly halves elderly disability risk

"In the past decade, scientists have focused on the benefits of strength training in maintaining independence, but until now we didn't have strong evidence using an objective performance measure that a walking program would improve physical functioning," said co-author of study M. Elaine Cress, professor of kinesiology and researcher in the UGA Institute of Gerontology. "Our study observed that walking offers tremendous health benefits that can help elderly adults stay independent."

The scientists randomly assigned 26 low-income adults aged 60 and older to either a walking exercise group, which met three times a week for four months, or a nutrition education control group. Initially, the group would walk for 10 minutes continually. As the weeks progressed, they increased their walking time to 40 continuous minutes. Each session began with a 10-minute warm-up and ended with a 10-minute cool-down that included balance and flexibility exercises.

Trudy Moore-Harrison, the lead author of the study and a former UGA doctoral student, explained that the scientists focused their study on low-income individuals because people with fewer financial resources are less likely to be physically active and are more likely to have chronic health conditions and lack health care coverage. Moore-Harrison added that walking doesn't require any special equipment other than a pair of comfortable shoes, which makes it a simple and low-cost way for people to become active. Moore-Harrison supervised the group, but the scientists said that motivated community members could lead similar groups across the country.

Getting people to stick with exercise programs can be notoriously difficult, but the scientists observed that every single member of the group stayed with the program for its four-month duration. "People really enjoyed the program," said Moore-Harrison, now a post-doctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. "It gave them an opportunity to make new friends and get to know their neighbors."

The scientists measured the aerobic capacity of the participants using a treadmill test and observed that while the control group saw an 9 percent decline in aerobic capacity over the four-month study period, the aerobic capacity of the walking group increased by 19 percent over the same time period.

"Aerobic capacity is really the engine that we draw upon for doing the things we want to do, whether it's cleaning up around the house or running a marathon," Cress said. "By increasing their aerobic capacity, the walking group was better able to perform their daily tasks and had more energy left over for recreational activities, like going out dancing".

The scientists assessed health status and bodily pain through questionnaires and examined disability by measuring performance on factors such as balance and walking. Physical functioning was measured through both questionnaires and through tests that measured how well the volunteers performed daily activities such as climbing a flight of stairs and putting on and removing a jacket.

The scientists observed that physical function increased by 25 percent in the walking exercise group, in comparison to a decrease of 1 percent in the control group. And while the control group saw their risk of disability increase over the four-month period, the walking exercise group saw their disability risk go from 66 percent to 25 percent - a decrease of 41 percent in just four months.

"We know that walking is good for you, but too a number of people still aren't doing it," Moore-Harrison said. "This study shows that just walking on a regular basis can make a huge impact on quality of life".

The research was supported by the UGA Institute of Gerontology Seed Grant, the Northeast Georgia Area Agency on Aging and the Georgia Gerontology Consortium Seed Grant. The research was done in cooperation with the Athens Housing Authority.


Posted by: Janet    Source




Did you know?
Elderly adults can decrease their risk of disability and increase their likelihood of maintaining independence by 41 percent by participating in a walking exercise program, as per a new University of Georgia study. The study, which appears in the current issue of the Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy, also observed that walking program participants increased their peak aerobic capacity by 19 percent when in comparison to a control group and increased their physical function by 25 percent.

Medicineworld.org: Regular walking nearly halves elderly disability risk

Asthma| Hypertension| Medicine Main| Diab french| Diabetes drug info| DruginfoFrench| Type2 diabetes| Create a dust free bedroom| Allergy statistics| Cancer terms| History of cancer| Imaging techniques| Cancer Main| Bladder cancer news| Cervix cancer news| Colon cancer news| Esophageal cancer news| Gastric cancer news| Health news| Lung cancer news| Breast cancer news| Ovarian cancer news| Cancer news|

Copyright statement
The contents of this web page are protected. Legal action may follow for reproduction of materials without permission.