Structured Physical Activity Keeps Older Adults Mobile

July 24th, 2014
by Kathy Kres, YAH & Water Aerobics Director, Personal Trainer

Loss of mobility among older adults is a risk factor for disability, hospitalization, chronic disease, and premature death. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association assessed the impact of structured physical activity programs on preserving the mobility in older adults in multiple cities and communities over a two and a half year period. During the study, 1,635 adults at risk for loss of mobility were randomized to either a health education program or a structured, moderate intensity physical activity program. Exercises were conducted twice weekly at a center and three to four times weekly at home and mobility was measured by participants ability to walk 400 meters.

The results showed that fewer participants in the physical activity group experienced both short term and persistent mobility over the course of the study. There was a slightly greater risk of adverse effects in the physical activity group compared with the health education group, but he authors still conclude that the structured, moderate intensity physical activity program can be beneficial in helping older adults at risk for disability preserve their mobility. Health Clubs provide a safe, supportive environment for older adults to engage moderate activity, and some clubs offer programs and services specifically for older adults.

excerpted from