A new study has revealed that walking around the ward during hospitalisation reduces the length of geriatric patients' stay in internal wards.
Dr. Efrat Shadmi and Dr. Anna Zisberg of the University of Haifa's Department of Nursing, surveyed 485 participants aged 70 and up, who were hospitalised for at least two days in the internal wards of a hospital in Israel.
Those who were not restricted in mobility were asked about their physical activity during the course of their hospitalisation.
The study found that all of the patients who walked around shortened their hospital stay by an average day and a half compared with those who did not exercise physical mobility.
The study also found that those who walked around the ward on the first day of hospitalisation shortened their stay more than the others.
The researchers stated that they found this to be relevant regardless of the patients' health status.
"The muscle's reserve capacity' can decompose quite quickly in older people. If they shift from a mode of mobility - even if it was minimal - to a state of almost complete immobility, and even for just a few short days of hospitalisation, they could very quickly lose their muscle 'reserves', resulting in more difficulties functioning and other complications," the researchers stated.
"This study, along with other new studies in the area, shows that walking really does pay off," they concluded.
The findings have been published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.