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Exercise Cuts Senior Disability Risk in Study

A structured exercise program can help older adults remain able to walk on their own, a new study finds. The study included more than 1,600 adults in their 70s and 80s. They did little or no regular exercise before the study started. All were able to walk one-quarter mile without help. But they were considered at high risk of becoming disabled. People were randomly divided into 2 groups. One group went to a clinic twice a week for group exercises sessions. They also exercised at home 3 to 4 times a week. The program included brisk walking and exercises for strengthening, flexibility and balance. People worked up to a total of 150 minutes each week. The other group went to workshops on healthy aging. They occurred twice a week for 26 weeks and monthly after that. The study lasted an average of 2.6 years.

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