New Study Finds Adaptive Walking Modifications Can Enable Outdoor Mobility

The World Health Organization recommends older adults to spend 150 mins doing moderate intensity aerobic exercise. If they lack in the mobility department, they should go for balance exercises on at least three days. Those of them who have health conditions keeping them from physical activity should do as much of it as they can.

A 2018 study emphasizes of the importance of physical activity among older adults. It said that promoting movement in them is a clinical issue that must be addressed. A new study that the American Journal of Preventive Medicine published recently said that just one hour of exercise can prevent disability among older adults who have osteoarthritis.

Unfortunately, for older adults even the most basic physical activity of walking is tough. This is because with age, there is a decline in functionality. And walking is a complex process that involves the sensory, cognitive, and neuromuscular systems. A new study, however, says that walking modifications can help keep up with outdoor mobility in older adults.

The Positive Side Of Walking Modifications

A new study has found that walking modifications as functionality declines can enable older adults to continue getting outdoor mobility. Researchers at the University of Jyväskylä conducted this study. For it, older adults who were in the age bracket of 75 and 90 participated.

What age climbs up, covering long distances can get more challenging, and scarier. This can cause conscious or unconscious walking modifications such as reliance on a stick, less speed, and taking pauses mid-walking. Previous studies have looked at these modifications in a negative light. They have suggested that these modifications are indicators of future walking difficulties.

This research work sheds light on how these changes in walking behavior can actually benefit older adults. It found that these walking modifications made the activity less demanding and tedious while enabling outdoor mobility among older adults. On the contrary, walking changes that made people avoid long distances or walk rarely were labelled maladaptive modifications.

Doctoral student, Heidi Skantz said that maladaptive modifications reduced life-space mobility. Skantz further added, “As for those older people who had chosen to utilise adaptive walking modifications, they were able to maintain wider life-space mobility and they were also satisfied with their outdoor mobility opportunities.”

In this regard, it can be helpful to encourage older adults to employ adaptive walking practices. Taking a break or using support for walking can allow them cover long distance and maintain outdoor mobility. However, researchers need to carry out more studies on this matter.

Key Takeaway

Physical activity is crucial in every age. For older adults, it is necessary as resurge lowers the risk of health problems and early death. However, functional decline in older adults can limit outdoor mobility. Considering this, researchers of a new study have found that adaptive walking modifications can help. On the contrary maladaptive modifications in walking can limit mobility.