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.
‘Not doing any physical activity can be bad for health, no matter your age or health condition. Keep in mind, some physical activity is better than none at all.’
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.
Participants were randomly assigned to a program consisting of aerobic, resistance, and flexibility activities or a health education program consisting of workshops and stretching exercise. Over 2 years follow-up, the risk for frailty was not statistically significantly different in the physical activity versus the health education group.
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.