Worrying about health may actually decrease mobility among seniors, even in an active living community, researchers report.
A study in Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport found that older Americans who were worried about health risks exercised less frequently, leading to walking difficulty at the end of a six-year study.
Co-author Bradley Cardinal of Oregon State University says that getting seniors committed to healthier habits earlier in life allows them to walk better because "using threats and fear-tactics to encourage physical activity" is ineffective..
The study points to a need for new motivational tools for senior citizens, where doctors would offer coping mechanisms for potential illnesses and incorporate lifestyle changes that match a patient's personality, say the authors, as well as for patient-doctor communication that shows the benefits of exercise, rather than "health threats" of various diseases and illnesses.
Manuel Montero-Odasso found that a senior's gait may predict future mobility problems, with data showing that those with slower gaits required more hospital visits and suffered more injuries, according to a study from the University of Western Ontario.