Magazine article The Nation's Health

National Institutes of Health's Go4Life Helps Keep Seniors Moving

Magazine article The Nation's Health

National Institutes of Health's Go4Life Helps Keep Seniors Moving

Article excerpt

AN EVIDENCE-BASED fitness program is helping U.S. seniors incorporate exercise into their daily routines.

Developed by the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health, the Go4Life program is designed to meet the fitness needs of older adults, who tend to exercise less than younger people. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, just 35 percent to 44 percent of adults ages 75 and older are physically active, as are only 28 percent to 34 percent of adults between the ages of 65 and 74. In addition, older adults generally require gentler, low-impact exercise regimens for joint protection.

Go4Life encourages lifelong physical activity among seniors by addressing the barriers that older adults face in exercising regularly. The program offers examples of endurance, strength, balance and flexibility exercises, all of which include simple movements that can be done almost anywhere.

The featured exercises also do not generally require complicated or expensive equipment. Flexibility exercises include using a towel to stretch the shoulders and upper arms, or a chair to stretch the thigh muscles. Each exercise regimen includes safety tips and helps users gauge intensity, frequency and progress.

Regular exercise is also critical to older adults' independence. A 2016 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that a moderate physical activity program involving participants between ages 70 and 89 reduced the amount of time people recovered from a major disability by 25 percent. …

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