Last month Gretchen Reynolds, from the New York Times on-line Well blog, reported on the results of a study from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that reinforced the necessity of frequent physical activity. This study is compelling. The lead author, Dr. Marco Pahor, stated, “For the first time, we have directly shown that exercise can effectively lessen or prevent the development of physical disability in a population of extremely vulnerable elderly people.”
What made this study unique was that, instead of recruiting older individuals in relatively good health who could exercise, this study used volunteers who were sedentary and infirm, and on the cusp of frailty. Previous studies weren’t able to prove that exercise improves older people’s health, only that healthy older people exercise.
So while you are embracing your inner couch potato, consider the title of the print version of this article as it appeared on 5/28/2014, page A12 in the New York edition: “Exercise for Older Adults Helps Reduce Their Risk of Disability…”.
Knowledge is important, but by itself does not promote change. When it is paired with motivation, change is more likely to occur. Age and disability do not go hand and hand.
If you are in a place were you need more motivation to get back into some form of regular exercise or you need to just start, here it is! It is not inevitable that growing older leads to diability. You have choice and control. All you need to do now is put those walking shoes on, head out the door, and start walking.
YOU GOT THIS!