According to the new long term study, healthy seniors who are physically active and exercise for more than 60 minutes each week can lessen their chances of disability as they age.
The researchers looked at 805 adults between the ages 50 and 72 at enrollment and followed for them for 13 years.
Each year, participants answered survey questions about their overall health and vitality and rated themselves on their ability (or inability) to do tasks such as dressing, eating and reaching.
Participants also reported their level of activity and were considered “active” if they exercised vigorously — for example, running, brisk walking, swimming, biking and hiking — more than 60 minutes per week, or “inactive” if 60 minutes or less per week.
After 13 years, the overweight active seniors had significantly less disability than the overweight inactive (average disability score 0.19) and normal-weight inactive seniors.
The researchers concluded that being physically active, regardless of body weight, helped lessen disability.
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