48 Minutes of Moderate Exercise a Week Better Than None for Older Folks

moderate exercise in older adults beneficial

Only Take a Little Moderate Exercise to Make Big Difference

Adding 48 minutes of moderate exercise per week is associated with improvements in overall physical functioning and decreases in risks of immobility in older adults who are sedentary, finds a new study led by researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University.

In the study, published in PLOS ONE, the researchers evaluated how different doses of exercise for adults age 70-89 would impact the benefits. While the researchers saw improvements in all participants who added some physical activity to their routine, those who got more exercise, moderate exercise, saw greater changes. The work is part of the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) study.

“These are people who want to live healthy, independent lives and are at risk for losing that. Maintaining functional independence for older adults is an important public health issue. In our first LIFE study, we confirmed that regular exercise can help improve physical function and prevent mobility loss. Now we see that small increases can have big impacts,” said first and corresponding author Roger A. Fielding, senior scientist and director of the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology, and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the USDA HNRCA.

For the LIFE study, the researchers analyzed data from 1,635 men and women age 70-89 over an average of 2.6 years. Half were randomly assigned to a program of moderate exercise – walking and walking-based strength, flexibility and balance training; half participated in health education workshops. All had low levels of physical functioning at the start and reported fewer than 20 minutes per week of regular physical activity in the month prior to starting the study. Participants were evaluated at baseline, six, 12, and 24 months. The researchers relied on movement monitors and self-reporting to measure physical activity outside study sessions.

Changes in activity were significantly greater in the physical activity intervention group than the health education group from baseline through 24 months. There was a continuous, graded effect with the greatest benefits seen in the participants who engaged in at least 48 minutes of physical activity per week. The greater differences were also associated with prevention of major mobility loss.

“Our goal was to have participants walking up to 150 minutes per week. To see benefits at 48 minutes is encouraging. We wanted the physical activity sessions to include exercise that participants could do outside of the study, and we hope that learning of these results might motivate others to try to make safe, incremental changes to their activity levels. Reducing muscle loss, functional decline, and loss of independence are important to anyone, at any age, and at any physical ability,” said Fielding.

The researchers acknowledge limitations of this study, including examining the different quantities of exercise participation achieved in the LIFE study participants and not specifically prescribing different amounts of exercise to different study groups. In addition, there were differences in the measured absolute amounts of exercise performed when comparing objective activity monitoring using a wearable “device” and self-report of physical activity.



As part of my Caregiver Smile Summit, I have had the pleasure of interviewing more than 50 experts in the health, aging and caregiving fields. Dr. Maria Zayas, a practicing psychologist and a faculty member of the Psychology Department at Brenau University, is one of those experts. Together we explored the topic of conscious aging.

Caregivers Are People Too – Respect Them

It’s Deeper Than Having Purpose – We’re the Stewards of Our Society

Rethinking the Aging Process Starts with Awareness, Slowing Down, Taking Inventory

Pass It Down and Pay It Forward Consciously

Manage Your Stress So You Have Energy for the Journey


Do you think that society puts a value on its older citizens? Have you ever done a personal life review to assess in a conscious way the things you have accomplished? What are you doing to experience positive aging? Please share your thoughts below.

What to Do with Mom and Dad’s Stuff – Charlotte Today

What to Do with Mom and Dad’s Stuff – from Charlotte Today

As baby boomers grow older and start moving to smaller dwellings, children are faced with a dilemma – their parents’ possessions. Furniture, keepsakes and heirlooms that our parents want to pass on are often not wanted by the children. What do you do with all of mom and dad’s stuff and how do you approach the subject? The key to all things in the aging space is to have discussions earlier. Here is something to think about when looking at possessions. People hold on to things for three reasons – sentimental value; utility; aesthetics. Understanding that helps.

On Supplemental Oxygen? Here is what to do in an Emergency.

supplemental oxygen

Emergency Preparedness for People on Supplemental Oxygen

Any time of the year, the power in your home can go out due to wild weather. Lightning strikes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and heavy ice/snow cause considerable damage and can leave you without electricity for hours, or even days! If you are someone who relies on oxygen therapy (supplemental oxygen) to aid in breathing, you need to be prepared for the type of weather events that leave you without electricity to operate your oxygen concentrator. There are two major steps you need to take to make sure you are prepared for a power outage.

1. Call your power company

Start by calling your power company and register with them so they know you are an oxygen patient who requires a constant electricity to keep your oxygen concentrator running so you can breathe properly. The power company will then be able to treat your area as a priority so you will not be without electricity long.

Also, make sure you know how the power company handles these responses. Ask them how much of a priority supplemental oxygen dependent patients are in a  power outage, and especially in your area. See if they will provide a generator if the outage is over a certain number of hours. Know how they will respond when the outage occurs so you can better prepare to fend for yourself if it happens.

2. Contact your DME supplier

The next most important thing you need to do is to call your oxygen provider. Keep in mind that your provider is required to supply your oxygen when you need it, even in a weather emergency. Know how your location affects the delivery in either snow or down trees and power lines. Start by asking how much oxygen (in tank form) they think you will need in an outage until they can get to you with more.

Order these extra tanks and keep them somewhere for emergency use. Also, have the delivery person label the tanks with how much time of continuous oxygen flow on each tank. Do you receive liquid oxygen? If so, your provider can provide an extra reservoir for use when there is no power.

3. Be prepared

After you’ve followed these two vital steps, don’t forget other basic emergency preparedness. Make sure additional people (family, friends, caregivers, neighbors) know how to perate your equipment. Keep a record of your equipment’s serial number and model number and copies of your prescriptions, insurance plans, and doctors’ names. You’ll need this information if you have to get a replacement.

Now that you have a plan for your supplemental oxygen therapy, use should the power outage occur, make sure you also remember the basics.

  1. Find out what type of emergencies or disasters are likely to occur in your area and how you will be warned.
  2. Pack extra food for you and household members.
  3. Get a battery-powered radio.
  4. Register, if possible, for emergency assistance programs. Understand the emergency plans of local organizations you are associated with such as schools, churches, jobs, grocery stores and civic organizations.
  5. Discuss the plan with family and any caregivers.
  6. Designate safe zones or shelters and how to get to them. Routes should be visibly posted near a list of emergency contact numbers.



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