To Stay Healthy as you age, Stay Active!

Mental health and physical stamina are best preserved with continued physical activity throughout aging

(RxWiki News) Psychological distress can make physical tasks harder to perform. Finding a fun, physical activity to stay active with for the rest of your life may be the best way to maintain health and independence.

A recent study looked at a sample size of nearly 100,000 people over the age of 65 to see what factors contributed to their physical function and limitation abilities.

No surprise that those who were regularly active did well, but it also turns out that stress can also slow people down.

"A fun, physical activity every day can do wonders!"

Gregory Kolt, Ph.D., from the School of Science and Health at the University of Western Australia, lead his team to study 91,375 men and women over the age of 65. Their goal was to see what the relationship between the levels of physical activity in older adults played with their performance in physical function tests.

They asked the participants about their psychological stress, education, smoking history, and took their physical measurements. To be expected, people who reported being more physically active had an easier time with the tasks and were capable of higher physical function.

One thing the study did discover that might raise eyebrows is that those in the study who reported being under a lot of stress or in a state of psychological distress had a much harder time with the physical function tests.

Those under psychological distress, reportedly 8.4%, not only demonstrated physical limitation, but almost seven times the functional limitation relative to the other participants.

Kolt stated, “Our findings can influence the emphasis that we place on older adults to remain active…With greater levels of physical activity, more positive health gains can be achieved, and with greater physical function, greater independence can be achieved.”

Health problems associated with aging and psychological stressors can be less of a burden and far more manageable with daily exercise.

This study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, April 2012. No conflicts of interest were found and no information on funding for the study was given.

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Review Date: 
April 7, 2012