Activity Helps Older People Maintain Ability to Walk

Published 05/27 2014 04:03PM

Updated 05/27 2014 04:06PM

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - A 20-minute brisk walk each day could help older people maintain their ability to walk. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and 7 other centers followed more than 1600 sedentary people 70 to 89 years old, for two-and-a half years. All could walk about a quarter mile when the study began.

During the study, half walked 150 minutes a week and did strength, flexibility and balance training. The others took  a health education program and did stretching exercises

Thirty percent of the people in the exercise group lost the ability to walk a quarter mile, compared to 35 percent of the people in the health education group.
Researchers say although the difference between the 2 groups is small, the findings suggest structured physical activity may help improve mobility as we age.
They also plan to look at the data to see how physical activity affected the participants' memory and mental functions.

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