Mobility Limitation

Moderate-Intensity Physical Activity Program for Older Adults Reduces Mobility Problems

Business.Cloud.PhysicalActivity3Among older adults at risk of disability, participation in a structured moderate-intensity physical activity program, compared with a health education intervention, significantly reduced the risk of major mobility disability (defined in this trial as loss of ability to walk 400 meters, or about a quarter-mile), according to a study published by JAMA.

Marco Pahor, M.D., of the University of Florida, Gainesville, and colleagues with the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) study, randomly assigned sedentary men and women (age 70 to 89 years) who were able to walk 400 meters to a structured, moderate-intensity physical activity program (n = 818) conducted in a center and at home that included aerobic, resistance, and flexibility training activities, or to a health education program (n = 817), consisting of workshops on topics relevant to older adults and upper extremity stretching exercises. The adults participated for an average of 2.6 years.

Major mobility disability (loss of ability to walk 400 meters) was experienced by 246 participants (30.1 percent) in the physical activity group and 290 participants (35.5 percent) in the health education group. Persistent mobility disability (two consecutive major mobility disability assessments or major mobility disability followed by death) was ex­perienced by 14.7 percent of participants in the physical activity group and 19.8 percent of participants in the health education group.

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Source: Medical News Today.

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Mobility in Old Age Limited by Midlife Occupational Physical Activity

Business.Cloud.PhysicalActivity2Strenuous occupational physical activity in midlife increases the risk of mobility limitation in old age, whereas leisure-time physical activity decreases the risk. This is found in a study which followed up 5,200 public sector employees for 28 years. The study was conducted at the Gerontology Research Center in Finland and the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.

Heavy physical labor is often repetitive, wears the body and lasts for several hours a day. On the contrast, leisure-time physical activity is designed to improve fitness and provide recreation and a typical exercise session lasts for one or two hours. Even though both are based on muscle activity and result in energy expenditure, their long-term consequences are different.

“A person doing heavy manual work may compensate for its detrimental effects by participating in brisk leisure-time physical activity,” says professor Taina Rantanen, the leader of the research group.

“Mobility limitation is an important determinant of a person’s possibilities to participate in the society and to utilize community amenities. Current policy emphasizes the importance of promoting independent living among older people,” Rantanen adds.

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Source: Medical News Today.