Posted on Jul 03, 2014, 6 a.m.
A 20-minute walk each day may ward off major physical disability and enhance quality of life.
The ability to walk unassisted is a key to independent living. Reduced mobility is common in older adults and is a risk factor for illness, hospitalization, disability, and death. Coordinated at the University of Florida (Florida, USA), the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) Study is an ongoing, large randomized controlled trial to assess physical activity and health education in older adults. Assessing data collected on 1,635 men and women, ages 70 to 89 years, who led sedentary lifestyles and were at risk of mobility disability, the LIFE Study Investigators observed that the risk of major mobility disability was reduced by 18% among participants in the physical activity group, meaning that they were more capable of walking without assistance for about a quarter mile. A daily 20-minute walk was found to help stave off major disability and enhance the quality of these older adults.
Pahor M, Guralnik JM, Ambrosius WT, Blair S, Bonds, Gill TM, et al; for the LIFE study investigators. “Effect of Structured Physical Activity on Prevention of Major Mobility Disability in Older Adults: The LIFE Study Randomized Clinical Trial.” JAMA. 2014 May 27.