Movement is the cornerstone of wellness, longevity, and sustained independence. Even a little movement makes a lot of difference in wellness.
One 73-year-old Parkinson’s disease sufferer extended the amount of time he was could walk simply by walking “laps” twice a day inside his home – starting at his living room recliner, then shuffling through each of his home’s 3 bedrooms, and ending by circling the kitchen island and dining room table.
A 90-year-old female stroke victim, although confined to a wheelchair, wheeled herself through the halls of her nursing home facility twice daily to maintain her arm and leg muscle strength as long as she possibly could.
Pointless? Not at all. The elderly don’t need to perform strenuous workouts. Simply getting up and doing some chores around the house or a light stroll in the garden have benefits. Those who have the energy can also do light gardening, a swim, or water aerobics.
A new study of 3,000 50-79 year olds shows that the least active among the participants were 5 times more likely to die than the most active (via Medical News Today). Even better, the study shows that there is no minimum activity threshold that must be reached to show an improvement in health outcomes.
Published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Journal, the study measured activity levels among participants by tracking their amount of movement over 7 days through use of accelerometers that measured even the slightest movements. The researchers then followed up with the participants over the course of 8 years, which revealed the correlation between activity levels and longevity.
The study’s lead author, Ezra Fishman, a doctoral candidate of demography at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, says that “Activity doesn’t have to be especially vigorous to be beneficial. . . .When it comes to physical activity, more is better than less, and anything is better than nothing.”