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Keep walking, stay mobile

September 28, 2016
by Nicole Stempak, Senior Editor
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Get up and get moving. 

A new study publsihed in the Annals of Internal Medicine found a regular program of phsyical activity can reduce the time spent with a mobility-limiting disability. 

Reserachers observed more than 1,600 sedentary people between 70 and 89 years old with some functional limitations but could walk a quarter of a mile in 15 minutes or less unassisted. Walkers and people weren't allowed but canes were permitted. 

Half the group received a health education program with regular in-persons sessions and some strething exercies while the other half was told to strivee for 150 minutes of aerobic activity as well as strenth, flexibility and balance training.

"Walking was the cornerstone of the program," says study author Thomas Gill, professor of geriatrics at the Yale School of Medicine to NPR. 

The study followed participants for about 2.7 years and found that the physical activity cohort reduced the amount of time they spent with a major mobile disabilitiy, defined as being unable to walk a quarte rmile, by 25 percent compared to the education program, suggesting exercise may not only lower the risk of disability in the first place but also sped recovery time and reduced the risk of subsequent episodes.