Need more kindling to help keep your older clients’ passions for fitness burning bright? Researchers have recently discovered what many professionals already knew: exercise helps older adults avoid disability. The Stanford University Department of Medicine study was published in the American Journal of Public Health (July 2008; 98 , 1294–99), and examined 805 adults aged 50–72 for 13 years. Each year, participants answered questions about their health and vitality and rated their ability to perform tasks such as getting dressed, eating and reaching. The participants also noted their level of physical activity. According to the results, older adults who engaged in at least 60 minutes of physical activity per week were less prone to physical limitations than their inactive counterparts. “Being physically active mitigated development of disability in these seniors, largely independent of body mass index,” state study authors. “Public health efforts that promote physically active lifestyles among seniors may be more successful than those that emphasize body weight in the prevention of functional decline.”
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