Exercise key to stopping physical decline: Study

Exercise key to stopping physical decline

Lorraine Phillips, associate professor, University of Missouri

Researchers at the University of Missouri have found older adults in retirement homes who exercise more experience less physical decline than those who reported less exercise.

Even so, the majority of adults aged 65 and over remain inactive and fail to meet recommended activity guidelines, previous research shows.

Those recommended activities for muscle strengthening include knee extensions and bicep curls.

Associate Professor Lorraine Phillips led the study. It found most participants didn’t report completing the recommended physical activities despite having daily opportunities and access to equipment to do so. Phillips says muscle strength is important to individuals of this age group in order for them to maintain their ability to conduct everyday activities such as opening jars, standing up from chairs and supporting their own bodyweight.

In order to reverse this trend, Phillips says health care providers should discuss exercise programs with their patients and share the possible risks associated with their lack of exercise, such as losing their ability to live independently.

Retirement communities should promote the benefits of exercise more effectively, argues the study.

Phillips’ research, Retirement Community Residents’ Physical Activity, Depressive Symptoms, and Functional Limitations, was published in Clinical Nursing Research.

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