Exercise, diet program helps elderly remain independent for longer: Study

2022-05-22 18:04:10
Exercise, diet program helps elderly remain independent for longer: Study

While building healthy habits at an earlier age can have some long-term benefits, adding physical activity can help at all ages, new research suggests.

The new study found that physically frail elderly people with low muscle mass (sarcopenia) were able to reduce their level of "mobility disability" by 22% over three years, using a program that included specific changes to their exercise habits and diets.

The formula for success involved adding extra walking, along with strength, flexibility and balance exercises, to their daily routine. It also included increasing their protein intake, according to the paper published recently in the BMJ.

The findings confirm the value of structured physical activity in older adults living on their own, said Dr. Thomas Gill, author of an editorial accompanying the study.

"We hear time and time again that the most important objective that older persons will report is that they want to maintain their independence as they grow older, meaning that they don't want to have to rely on others for accomplishing their day-to-day activities," said Gill, a professor of geriatric medicine at the Yale School of Medicine.

Many of the activities that people want to maintain as they grow older, from managing the distance between parking space and grocery store and then walking while shopping in the store, require a certain level of mobility, Gill noted.

Study participants included more than 1,500 men and women with an average age of 79 from 16 clinical sites in 11 European countries. About half received the exercise intervention. The others -- the control group -- received monthly education on healthy aging.



Error! Error occured!