An Hour of Activity Shown to Dramatically Reduce Risk of Disability

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Not being able to remain mobile and perform the daily activities of life can be a difficult thing to cope with later on in age. This can lead to a loss of independence and a host of other health risks, which is why researchers have been focusing on preventing conditions that can lead to such disabilities.

According to a new study, one of the biggest contributing factors in helping to prevent or manage movement disabilities is getting at least one hour of moderate exercise every week. The study shows that adults with lower-extremity joint symptoms like aching, chronic pain, or stiffness are more likely to be free of disability after four years if they adhere to this advice.

The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine looked at participants involved in the Osteoarthritis Initiative, a large study on the mobility of patients who suffer from osteoarthritis. This type of arthritis occurs during aging after excessive use of joints, and is the most common type, affecting more than 30 million Americans.

The participants ranged from ages 49 – 83 and suffered from lower-extremity joint problems. Researchers monitored their levels of activity, using accelerometers to measure their daily movement. Dorothy Dunlop, lead author of the study, said: “After monitoring physical activity, participants were interviewed every other year over four years.”

The results gathered over the course of these four years showed that people who got at least 56 minutes of moderate exercise per week had an astounding 86% decreased risk in developing a mobility-disability compared to those who got less exercise.

This study marks the first time at looking into a minimum time commitment to reduce overall risk of disability, allowing an individual to live independently. The findings highlight the sheer importance of remaining physically active later on in life. Due to an increasing requirement of preventing disability, it is important to take note of studies like this, in order to improve treatment techniques and spread awareness of the preventative measures that can be taken to improve patients lives.

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