New Evidence for Aging Workforce Supports Exercise as Treatment for Mobility Issues

A new study has elaborated further on prior evidence taken from a study suggesting that exercise programs can ease the burden of mobility issues in our aging workforce. We look at the findings, and how these fit into BIA UK’s existing philosophy.

How Many Are Suffering?

According to the latest report from Papworth Trust there are around 11.9million disabled persons in the UK. Of these, the most common impairment suffered is mobility issues (57%), followed by stamina/breathing/fatigue (38%), dexterity (28%) and mental health (16%). For those with more than one impairment this was ordered by its effect on daily life.

With such a large number of people suffering with debilitating mobility problems, research findings into this area are key – both in regard to easing suffering, offering preventative aids and lowering cost implications.

The Study’s Findings

The first study concluded that;

“Exercise programs can ease the burden of mobility issues among older adults.”

Following on from this, the more recent study that took this initial finding further concluded;

“Moderate physical activity could lower the risk of the onset and duration of a major mobility disability event.”

The study focused on re-establishing mobility which was defined as the ability to walk 400m unassisted after a major mobility disability (MMD). The participants were split into two groups; relatively inactive 70 – 89 year olds participated in either a moderate physical activity program that focused on active walking or a workshop based program.

The findings for those in the active group were overwhelmingly positive. This group experienced a 25% reduction in their MMD over a 2.7year period compared with the workshop based subjects. In addition these participants had quicker recovery times and had a lower risk of recurrence.

The co-author of the study, Abby King PhD stated:

“These new analyses indicate that beginning and sustaining a program of regular physical activity that includes both endurance and strengthening activities can have positive impacts at several points in older adults’ lives,” King said. “Not only can it help to prevent or delay the initial onset of mobility disability, but it also can help older adults recover sufficiently to diminish the chance of further episodes of disability.”

You can read more about the study on the Stanford website.

What These Findings Mean

The benefits of exercise as a solution or preventative tool for many ailments are known anecdotally. However recent additions of mounting and notable empirical evidence to scientifically support such claims gives even more credence to the benefits of physical activity in treating illness.

BIA UK’s entire treatment philosophy is rooted in exercise as a preventative measure in addition to part of the solution for our occupational physiotherapy clients suffering from all musculoskeletal problems. The results from using exercise as part of the solution are presented to us daily in our work, and it’s wonderful to see science continue to back our core philosophy up with its conclusions.

Our occupational physiotherapy service incorporates physical activity into our recommendations and treatment programs. To take advantage of our expertise and get a relevant exercise prescription of your own, register your interest and request a callback here.

MSK AbsenceTo learn more about what we do and our approach to musculoskeletal illnesses, fill out the short form here to download our free eGuide, How to Reduce the Effects of Absenteeism on Your Organisation.