Study finds strolling and housecleaning can reduce disability risk
You’ve heard the recommendation: Get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise each week to stay healthy. But a new study finds that even light physical activity—vacuuming, pushing a shopping cart or strolling around the neighborhood—can dramatically reduce the risk of disability.
“The bottom line is to stay as active as possible,” says lead study author Dorothy Dunlop, a professor with the Center for Healthcare Studies at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago.
Though moderate-intensity activity is more beneficial, some people may be unable to perform that level of exercise (think: dancing, water aerobics or brisk walking) due to illness. So researchers decided to look at the potential benefits of lighter exercise routines.
The study, which followed for two years a group of almost 1,700 adults who were participating in a long-term study of osteoarthritis, measured the intensity of the participants’ daily movements.
Researchers found that people who performed moderate-intensity exercise fared best, study subjects who frequently engaged in light physical activity were much less likely to become disabled and those who participated in light activity were one-third to one-half less likely to suffer a disability.
“Even among those who did almost no moderate activity, the more light activity they did, the less likely they were to develop disability,” Dunlop says.
In other words, some activity is better than none at all.