Research from St George’s University of London reveals a practice nurse-led initiative to get elderly citizens walking more has been successful in delivering sustained improvements in physical activity. 4D Fitness have responded to this news.
By studying 298 people aged between 60 and 75, researchers aimed to discover if physical activity levels increased over three months by combining practice nurse consultations with pedometer devices. Another objective was to establish if this increase in exercise was maintained over 12 months.
Participants were sorted into two different groups. They were evenly divided with one receiving standard care or an intervention that required four physical consultations with nurses over three months. They all kept a record of their physical activity and wore a pedometer for step-count feedback.
Both groups wore accelerometers so the researchers could measure physical activity duration and intensity. After three months the intervention group spent 63 more minutes per week in moderate or vigorous activity sessions of 10 minutes or higher and had over a thousand more daily steps than the control group.
After a year the differences reduced to 40 minutes a week and 609 steps each day. The moderate to vigorous exercise was said to reduce risk of heart disease by 9 per cent. Walking lowered the risk by 5.5 per cent. The researchers spoke about their findings: “Practice nurses can safely deliver an intervention to increase objectively measured physical activity levels in older people at three months.”
“Our study demonstrates that practice nurses can safely deliver an intervention to increase objectively measured physical activity levels in older people at three months, with a sustained effect at 12 months.”
A spokesperson for 4D Fitness, personal trainers across Britain, was available to comment on the findings. They said: “Once again, medical research has emphasised the importance of regular exercise on people’s well-being with walking a good way of becoming healthier. Lowering the chances of heart disease is nothing new, but it underlines how important physical activity is among the older generation and everyone else.”