Dear Living Well Daily Reader,
And sometimes they result in serious, life-changing injuries.
Common things like slipping in the shower, losing your balance while putting something on the top shelf or taking a tumble while going down the stairs can result in a permanent disability.
Luckily, there is one dead-simple way to keep these injuries from happening. Plus, this same easy method can speed up your recovery if an unavoidable accident does happen.
But the best part — it only takes a few minutes a day.
Recent research from Yale reports that the best way to prevent disability and recover from injury is with moderate exercise.
Undoubtedly, you’ve heard that exercise is good for you. It can lower your risk of chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and even certain cancers. But this latest discovery about the powers of exercise is something every person 70 years or older needs to know.
For this study, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers assigned more than 1,600 participants to either a structured physical activity or a health education program. The volunteers were between 70 and 89 years of age, and while none were considered disabled, they had some physical limitations and led sedentary lifestyles.
The physical activities in the program included strength, balance and flexibility exercises but focused on walking. Participants worked toward a goal of 2.5 walking hours per week.
For the next 3½ years, the participants who exercised regularly spent 25 percent less time suffering from a major movement disability when compared with those in the health education group.
This means people who walked just 30 minutes a day, five days a week cut their risk of disability by a quarter!
But the good news doesn’t stop there…
The data also show that active seniors are 13 percent less likely to develop a movement disability. Plus, those who exercise are a whopping one-third more likely to recover from mobility impairment.
By just adding a few extra steps a day, these older folks were able to slash their risk of disability and greatly improve their chances of recovering from injury.
Remaining mobile is crucial to keeping your independence. This research shows that exercise plays a key role in promoting independent mobility as well as preventing disability.
If 2½ hours of walking a week seems out of reach, start smaller. Even just an added trip to the mailbox or walk around the block will benefit your mobility. Once you’re comfortable, you’ll be burning through those 30 minutes a day quicker than you can say “sedentary.”
Managing editor, Living Well Daily