A study, which appears in the November issue of Journal of Gerontology, is the first to show that physical activity can improve a person's score on a standardized test of physical mobility, said Stanford University School of Medicine professor Abby King, PhD. She and other Stanford researchers took part in the multi-center study demonstrating that elderly people who increase their levels of regular exercise perform better on a test measuring balance, walking speed and ability to rise from a chair.
Researchers at the University of Florida and the National Institute of Aging coordinated the work. The Stanford team, led by King, professor of health research and policy and of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, played a key role in recruiting and working with 100 study participants in the Bay Area. The research was a preliminary study, and the next step is to conduct a full-scale, long-term trial on the benefits of exercise in the elderly.
"We are encouraged by these results, which demonstrate that a well-designed program combining aerobic, strength, balance and flexibility exercises can make a difference for those who are at high risk of losing mobility function," said Jack Guralnik, MD, PhD, a co-leader of the study from the National Institute of Aging.
King said the study's goal was to determine whether regular exercise could keep people healthier and more independent as they age. "Exercise is one way of having a huge impact on our aging population," she said.
Previous work suggested that performance on the fitness test is predictive of future health problems. According to King, earlier research had shown that seniors with lower scores die earlier and are also more likely to end up in assisted-care facilities. "The goal of this study is prevention - keeping people out of nursing homes," said King.
Researchers at Stanford and other sites recruited 424 participants aged 70 to 89. Participants lived independently, but they were at risk of developing an age-related disability, said King.
The study leaders randomly divided participants into two groups. Half the seniors spent approximately two and a half hours a week walking at a moderate pace. They also strengthened and stretched their leg muscles. The second group of seniors received education on healthy living, including advice on nutrition, medication and foot care. The study followed participants for just over a year.
The people who exercised regularly performed better on the standardized fitness test than people who received health education, and they were better able to walk a quarter of a mile. The fitness test is scored on a scale of one to 12, and the people who exercised improved their scores by one point on average, which is considered substantial. They were also less likely to suffer from an age-related disability that hampered their movement.
The study's findings held for men and women as well as for people of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Indeed, as people age, they share a common concern. "When you ask seniors what they are most afraid of they often don't put cancer or other specific age-related diseases at the top of the list," said King. "They say loss of independence."
Rosanne Spector | EurekAlert!
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine
22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.08.2017 | Life Sciences