News briefs: New findings about preserving physical function and mobility

Published: August, 2013

We already know that regular exercise can stave off a long list of health problems, from heart disease and diabetes to osteoporosis and immobility. Now it appears the benefits extend to people with Alzheimer's disease. Finnish researchers have concluded that regular exercise can reduce the risk of falling and slow the deterioration of physical functioning. Their study, published May 27, 2013, in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that people with Alzheimer's who took part in one hour of supervised exercise twice a week, either privately in the home or in a group setting, had slower deterioration in physical functioning than people with Alzheimer's who didn't exercise. Participation had to last at least one year to be effective. Alzheimer's patients who exercised also had far fewer incidences of falls than those who did not exercise, and lower overall health care costs for the year. It's useful information if you're a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer's. But it's also a good reminder of the importance of maintaining physical fitness in good health as well, so that you can stay active and protect your mobility and independence.

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