Thursday, October 28, 2010

Vigorous Exercise Can Help Seniors Avoid Disability

image of seniors exercising
Health Behavior News Service Glenda Fauntleroy

"Healthy seniors who are physically active and exercise for more than 60 minutes each week can lessen their chances of disability as they age, finds a new long-term study.

“This study contributes to the large body of scientific evidence supporting the importance of continuing to be physical active over one’s life,” said lead author Bonnie Bruce, of the division of immunology and rheumatology at Stanford University Department of Medicine.

The study appears in the July issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

The researchers looked at 805 adults between the ages 50 and 72 at enrollment and followed them for 13 years, from 1989 to 2002. Each year, participants answered survey questions about their overall health and vitality and rated themselves on their ability (or inability) to do tasks such as dressing, eating and reaching. Responses fell on a scale from 0 (no difficulty) to 3 (unable to do).

Participants also reported their level of activity and were considered “active” if they exercised vigorously — for example, by running, brisk walking, swimming, biking and hiking — more than 60 minutes per week, or “inactive” if 60 minutes or less per week."
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