More Evidence That Walking Keeps Seniors Independent Longer

At Phoenix Commons, we love to point out the superb walkability of our location. A new study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Assocation validates this enthusiasm for walking.

The authors of the study designed what is arguably the most ambitious experiment ever to measure the effects of exercise on seniors, using 1,635 subjects over a period of 2.6 years (on average). By the end of the experiment, seniors in the exercise group were 18 percent less likely to have experienced any episode of physical disability, compared to a control group which received health education only. The exercise group was also 28 percent less likely to have become permanently disabled. The authors claim that the contrast would have been even greater, if not for the fact that many seniors in the control group began exercising on their own as well.

Another important finding of the study is that the benefits of exercise extend beyond the physical. Participants in the experimental group were asked to exercise in a group setting, and the social benefits of this activity were not lost on the researchers, or the seniors themselves. Mildred Johnson, an 82-year old retired office worker, said:

“Exercising has changed my whole aspect on what aging means. It’s not about how much help you need from other people now. It’s more about what I can do for myself.” Besides, she said, gossiping during her group walks “really keeps you engaged with life.”

So get out of the house, connect with a group of local seniors, and start walking together regularly. It’s one of the best things you can do for your health, happiness, and independence.