Regular physical activity helps improve overall health and fitness, and reduces risk for many chronic diseases. Physicians should prescribe physical activity to all older patients, regardless of frailty status.
A structured, moderate-intensity physical activity program was not associated with a reduced risk for frailty over 2 years among sedentary older adults; however, it did reduce major mobility disability in both frail and nonfrail patients. Findings from a secondary analysis of the LIFE (Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders) trial are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
Researchers from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University and Geneva University Hospitals analyzed data for 1,635 community-dwelling adults, aged 70 to 89 years, with functional limitations to determine whether a long-term, structured, moderate-intensity physical activity program is associated with a lower risk for frailty and whether frailty status alters the effect of physical activity on the reduction in major mobility disability risk.
Using a defined measure of frailty, the physical activity intervention was associated with improvement in the inability to rise from a chair. These findings suggest that physical activity can benefit all older patients.