The results of a large study on the efficacy of a group-based exercise program for people older than 65 who have mobility impairments show that REACT helps prevent decline in physical fitness and is cost effective to run. The researchers behind it believe it should be made available across the country.
A decrease in mobility that is associated with aging may significantly reduce the quality of life, leading to losing independence, cause significant health and social care expenses, and decrease the overall lifespan. The strain on healthcare systems is likely to increase due to the increasing number of older population. At present, 3 out of 10 pensioners in state pension aged are considered disabled due to mobility restrictions.
The REACT program, which is also called REACT, also known as the Retirement In Action program is a novel, behavioral alteration program specifically targeted at seniors who are experiencing mobility problems (e.g. for those who are finding getting up the stairs walking to the grocery store or climbing out of the chair more challenging). It is designed to stop further mobility decline through exercises that work on the lower limb’s strength endurance, balance, and balance.
The focus of the program is on having engaging in social interactions, having fun and creating a sense of community through group sessions while also providing the ability to build flexibility, strength, balance and cardio-vascular workouts that are that are tailored to the individual’s needs.
Based on the findings of the large randomized control trial the international research team of Universities of Bath, Birmingham, Exeter along with Bath, Birmingham and Exeter as well as the University of the West of England (UWE) (UK) as well as UWE (UK) as well as the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Wake Forest (US) say that REACT can aid older adults avoid the downslope of decline mobility which could accelerate and result in loneliness and diminished independence.
The program was funded through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) as part of the Public Health Research program, REACT took place across three locations (Bath Bristol Bristol, Birmingham, and Devon) over four and one-half years. The project involved 777 people aged 65 and older (the longest-running person was aged 98). Participants were divided into an intervention or control group.
Participants in the intervention group enrolled in REACT two times a week for three months before returning each week for nine months. The control group were enrolled in three distinct “healthy-aging classes throughout the time. Through comparison of the two groups, researchers were able to evaluate the effectiveness of REACT in assessing lower limb mobility and also examine the social and health-related use of.
The results, which were published today [Monday , March 21st 2022 from 23.30 to 23.30 in two papers in Lancet Public Health, demonstrate that:
- At the time of 24 months (12 months after the conclusion of the intervention) Participants who attended the sessions showed significantly more mobility than those who didn’t and suggested the possibility of a long-term and short-term positive impact.
- It meant that REACT participants were able to walk more easily up and down stairs, and were more independent in their everyday activities.
- A minimum of one strength, balance and mobility training session every week (a moderate level dedication) was sufficient to give substantial benefits for the lower limb’s physical performance.
- For each person who participated, the price of it was PS622 and the savings on health insurance was PS725 for two consecutive years. Savings over time could be more.
Physical activity has a broad array of advantages for those who are older, such as longer life span and better health with greater autonomy and independence with better mobility, and enhanced health. However, many people have a downwards upward spiral in declining mobility which means that more active and inactive they become, less active they are.”
Afroditi Stathi ReACT’s Chief Investigator and Professor at University of Birmingham. University of Birmingham
“Through REACT we have proven that this gradual decline is preventable. It is preventable and in many cases be reversed with the use of a fitness program customized and progressive.
“At at least one REACT session per week is sufficient to give clinically relevant benefits to the lower limb’s physical performance and is cost-effective. This is an important public health message that should be given to people who are older across the UK as well as around the globe.”
Bath-based REACT participant Mr. Fayek Osman, 74 years old told the BBC: “University of Bath
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