Australian researchers found that pedometer-wearing seniors exercised more than twice as much as a control group given identical counseling and instructions.
The benefits of exercise for seniors have been well described. They include improvements in physical, emotional and cognitive health, as well as better quality of life.
We know exercise positively influences the course of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, and even some cancers. Yet as seniors age, their exercise routines often suffer and they engage in less physical activity. What strategies can be used to motivate seniors to increase rather than decrease the time they spend in exercise? A recent study by Australian researchers offers one answer.
By the end of three months, the pedometer group had increased their exercise time by 63.0 minutes per week compared to the reported time-only group whose exercise time expanded less than half as much, 30.9 minutes.
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The 330 seniors (over the age of 65) recruited were each enrolled in a program which included training, motivational counseling and follow up. Enrollees first met with their primary care doctor who outlined the exercise program, explained its medical benefits and gave a prescription for physical exercise. The researchers then divided the participants into two groups.