Keep Active, Even a Little, To Stave Off Disability

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A recent study shows that even a little bit of physical activity makes it much less likely we will be physically disabled as we age. “Mobility disability” is defined by the authors as inability to climb a flight of stairs, or walk more more than a block. This would certainly lead to impaired quality of life. But the good news is that for women studied in their sixties, those who commonly performed light activity were significantly less likely to develop the mobility limitations discussed during a six year follow up. Activity levels were measured with accelerometers, and light activity was defined as 1.6 and 2.9 metabolic equivalents (METs). Those who kept up at least that amount of activity (equivalent to slow walking) for multiple hours per day had much better outcomes.

This does not mean you have to go out and walk slowly for several hours a day, it is the total accumulated activity, moving about the house, in your garden, as well as any formal physical activity. I think it is good news, just sit less, and “putter about” more, throughout the day, and the likelihood you’ll be able to keep moving with age is much higher.