Looking for the key to longevity and spryness as you get older? It’s always wonderful to chat with someone in their late 80’s and 90’s who would probably be able to put on their dancing shoes and feel pretty good doing so. It might not be all about genetics that influence how you age. A recent study sought out to find the key ingredient to staying healthy and physically active later in life, and doctors might just be prescribing a whole lot more walking and exercise to their patients.
If you’re wanting to find more ways of improving your health long term, or even if you have elderly family members that can use a bit of encouragement, pass along these interesting findings from the Yale School of Medicine. In the study, researches took 1600 sedentary people, age 70 to 89 years old who had some functional limitations but could otherwise walk about a quarter of a mile in 15 minutes or less. With half of the participants involved in a health education program, and the other half aiming for 150 minutes of activity a week, mainly walking activity, these people were followed for almost 3 years before analyzing their results. What the researchers found was very promising.
For those involved the study “found that the physical activity program cut the amount of time that people spent with a “major mobility disability” — defined as being unable to walk a quarter mile — by 25 percent compared to the education program.” The exercise program also lowered the risk of becoming disabled in the first place; this study showed that it sped recovery from an episode of disability and lowered the risk of subsequent episodes.
Why should this study be important to those that are still in their prime? Simply because most of us aren’t even getting 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week in our current physical health. While it’s great to know that becoming more active as we age can spare us from aches, pains, and early death, we should look at our current way of life and increase the amount of exercise and walking we currently do, or it will be a lot more difficult to play catch up as we age.
Physicians that see their patients every year for their physicals should include a reminder prescription for walking to help keep down blood pressure, decrease risk of diabetes, stroke and so much more – no stopping by the pharmacy for pickup needed!
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Joanna has been a part of the Rebel Desk team from the very beginning! She contributes regularly on the Rebel Desk blog and enjoys sharing her experiences with walking and working. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.