Posted on Feb 10, 2011, 6 a.m.
Walking regularly and losing weight can improve mobility as much as 20% in older, obese adults with poor cardiovascular health.
Older adults with cardiovascular and cardiometabolic disorders often experience significant limitations of mobility, which in-turn can profoundly curtail independent living. W. Jack Rejeski, from Wake Forest University (North Carolina, USA), and colleagues enrolled 288 men and women, ages 60 to 79 years, who were overweight or obese and had cardiovascular disease or were at-risk for cardiovascular disease. For the 18-month long study, subjects were divided into three groups: a control group who received education on successful aging, a physical activity only group, and a physical activity and weight loss group. The mode of physical activity was set as the 400-meter walk, a widely used measure of mobility disability in older adults because for those who cannot walk this distance the likelihood of losing their independence increases dramatically. While the physical activity group did well on the 400-meter walk, researchers observed the most dramatic mobility improvement among those participants who combined an increase in physical activity with weight loss. On average, those subjects improved their mobility by 5%, with those with the most limited mobility improving by as much as 20%. Observing that: “Existing community infrastructures can be effective in delivering lifestyle interventions to enhance mobility in older adults in poor cardiovascular health with deficits in mobility,” the team urges that: “Attention should be given to intervening on both weight and sedentary behavior since weight loss is critical to long-term improvement in mobility.”
W. Jack Rejeski; Peter H. Brubaker; David C. Goff Jr; Lucille B. Bearon; Jacquelyn W. McClelland; Michael G. Perri; Walter T. Ambrosius. “Translating Weight Loss and Physical Activity Programs Into the Community to Preserve Mobility in Older, Obese Adults in Poor Cardiovascular Health.” Arch Intern Med, Jan 2011; doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2010.522.