Structured Physical Activity Program Can Help Maintain Mobility in Vulnerable Older People

May 27, 2014

A carefully structured, moderate physical activity program can reduce risk of losing the ability to walk without assistance, perhaps the single most important factor in whether vulnerable older people can maintain their independence, according to a National Institute on Aging study.

“It is common for an older person’s world to shrink as walking becomes more difficult and they get out and interact with family and friends less often. The interactions are critical to a high quality of life and have health benefits of their own,” said Stephen Kritchevsky, Ph.D., director of the Sticht Center on Aging and lead investigator for the clinical trial site at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

In this study, researchers found that a regular, balanced and moderate physical activity program followed for an average of 2.6 years reduced the risk of major mobility disability by 18 percent in an elderly, vulnerable population. Results are published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Wake Forest Baptist was one of eight clinical trial sites for this study and also coordinated the study’s data management and analysis.

Read the NIA news release here.

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Marguerite Beck:, 336-716-2415