You don’t have to be too old to begin fitness, and the right exercise routine could aid you in staying self-sufficient in your home.

Although establishing healthier habits earlier in age can provide longer-term benefits, including physical activity may help any age, new research suggests.


A recent study has found that physically frail older people who had lower muscle mass (sarcopenia) were capable of reducing their levels of “mobility impairment” to 22% in the course of three years with a program that made specific changes to their exercise routines and diet.

The key to success was the addition of more walking as well as flexibility, strength and balance exercises to their routine. Also, they should increase the amount of protein they consume according to the research paper released within the BMJ.

The results prove the value of exercise in a structured way for older adults who live in their own homes, according to doctor. Thomas Gill, author of the editorial that accompanied the study.


“We are constantly reminded time and over and time that the primary reason that older people will mention is the desire to be independent as they age and do not want depend on others to complete the things they do in their daily lives,” said Gill, the professor of geriatrics within Yale School of Medicine. Yale School of Medicine.

Many of the tasks that people wish to continue as they age such as navigating the distance between their parking space and the grocery store to walking to the grocery store requires a certain amount in mobility Gill noted.

“When one is unable to move independently it’s usually a important risk factor for poor outcomes. That means you could lose the capacity to carry out some of the more fundamental actions” like bathing and dressing on your own, he explained.

Co-author of the study The study’s co-author is Dr. Emanuele Marzetti said as an geriatrician, he’s often concerned about overdiagnosis or excessive treatment, but not when the treatment is exercise.

“I believe we have enough evidence to recommend the best nutrition and physical activity without conducting additional studies,” said Marzetti, from the Centre for Geriatric Medicine at Agostino Gemelli University Polyclinic in Rome, Italy.

The participants in the study included more than 1,500 males and women, with the average of age 79 years old from 16 clinical centers in the 11 European countries. Nearly half of them received the exercise program. The rest -the control groupwere educated monthly about healthy old age.


Participants were fitted with an actimeter on their thighs to monitor their the amount of activity. The participants were monitored for a period of 36 months.

When the study, almost half (47 percent) of the participants who were in the group of intervention had mobility issues, which was 53% of the participants in the intervention group. But, everyone could walk for about two-tenths of an mile by themselves.

Physical performance scores increased more for the workout group than the control group, after one and three months the researchers found.

In addition, women from the group receiving the intervention had less muscle strength and muscles mass after 24 months. They also lost smaller muscle mass after 36 months. There were no differences in strength or muscle mass were observed in the men.

Guidelines exist that indicate the proper way to recommend physical activities even for elderly people who are frail, Marzetti said, but they’re not often considered in medical school.

“We just took these guidelines and modified them to fit the circumstances which we had to study. We didn’t make any special changes. We did what needs to be carried out on a daily basis in a clinic for geriatrics or even within the office of a doctor, too,” Marzetti said.

As a society Gill suggested that an effective way to make it easier for seniors to walk could be to eliminate obstacles to mobility in the community. This includes making communities safe to walk through with protected walking trails or paths that are indoors.


Gill added that one shorter method to determine who could possibly be in danger of losing independence mobility, instead of conducting an entire battery of tests, is to just measure gait speed.

“Ideally they can then be referred to organized physical activity programs within your community.” Gill wrote in the editorial.

More details

The U.S. National Institute on Aging offers more information about maintaining mobility and preventing disabilities.

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