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Group exercise sessions can stop people losing strength as they age – study

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roup exercise can stop people from losing strength as they get older and make it easier for them to tackle everyday activities like walking and climbing stairs, research suggests.

According to the study, just one tailored group exercise session a week can help to prevent decline in mobility in those aged 65 and older.

As people get older and start to lose some mobility, this can lead to a reduced quality of life, a loss of independence, and rack up substantial health and social care costs.

It can even reduce overall life expectancy.

The programme improved my wellbeing as my walking ability and stair climbing are improving

Experts suggest that pressure on healthcare systems is set to grow with an ageing population, and currently three in 10 pensioners are classified as disabled due to mobility limitations.

The economic savings to the NHS over the two-year study were higher than the cost of the programme called Retirement in Action (React).

Researchers say it should now be rolled out nationwide.

The programme is targeted at older adults who are beginning to experience difficulties with everyday activities like climbing stairs, walking to the shop, or getting up from a chair.

It aims to prevent further decline in mobility through exercises that target strength in the legs, balance, and stamina.

Bath-based React participant, Fayek Osman, 74, said: “The programme improved my wellbeing as my walking ability and stair climbing are improving.

“React has been of great benefit to me and encouraged me to continue with an advanced level of activities. It also strengthens my belief that some exercise is better than nothing at all.”

We found clear evidence that quality of life was improved in the React group

Professor Afroditi Stathi, React chief investigator from the University of Birmingham, said: “Through React we have shown that this steady decline is avoidable.

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