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A Walk a Day Keeps Disability at Bay
Study links greater mobility in old age to daily strolls

TUESDAY, May 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Daily walks can help older adults remain mobile and improve their quality of life, a new study reveals.

"Maintaining independence for older adults is both a public health and a clinical priority, and modifying lifestyle is an important approach to maintaining independence," said Dr. Thomas Gill, one of the study's researchers and a professor of geriatric medicine at Yale University's School of Medicine.

Reduced mobility is a risk factor for illness, disability, hospitalization and death, Gill and colleagues noted.

The study, published in the May 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, included more than 1,600 inactive adults, aged 70 to 89, who were at risk of losing their mobility, defined as the ability to walk without assistance.

Participants were split into two groups. One group walked 20 minutes a day, while the other group received educational material about healthy aging.

After more than two years, the seniors in the walking group had an 18 percent lower risk of major mobility disability -- meaning they were more capable of walking without assistance for about a quarter-mile.

"We want to change how people live," Gill said in a university news release.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about exercise for seniors.

SOURCE: Yale University, news release, May 27, 2014

-- Robert Preidt

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