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New research project aims to help those with mobility issues lead more active lives

26th January 2016

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

The University of Bath is encouraging people over-65 with limited mobility to take part in a new research study that hopes to use physical activity as a means to reducing the issues they have around moving.

The scheme, being called REACT (REtirement in ACTion) aims to help combat the impact that mobility loss has on older people requiring accessibility equipment such as stair lifts, helping them to lead healthier more independent lives late into life.

The National Institute of Health Research has granted the university £1.65m to carry out the research project and help older people living in Bath, Bristol and Devon curb the effects of mobility limitation with gentle exercises earlier in their retirement.

Previous studies reveal that a gradual decline in physical inactivity, as we get older, may be a responsible factor contributing to decreased movement and so continuing to be as active as possible can help us stay mobile for longer. 

Of course, as we age accessibility products like walk in baths afford us movement around the home with more ease, but speaking at the launch of REACT, research leader Dr Afrodite Stathi explained how getting up on our feet can help us maintain an independent lifestyle for longer.

She said: "It is vital that older people try to get out of the house at least once a day, and to avoid sitting around for hours and hours."

Also at the event, Dr Jack Rejeski who previously led a similar study in America, said: "It doesn't have to be extreme exercise, it can begin with just very gentle walking or chair exercises at home.

"We saw remarkable results from our volunteers in the US.

"It can be a real life changer."

University of Bath looks for volunteers

The team at The University of Bath is looking for volunteers over 65 who suffer from mobility problems, to participate in a series of gentle walking, sitting or moving exercises.

The 12-month long programme of group sessions, based in leisure centres and health clubs across the selected areas, incorporates a number of exercises focusing on cardiovascular, strength, co-ordination and flexibility.

Sessions have been designed with enjoyment and social engagement in mind. The purpose being to determine whether community-based physical activity can offer an effective and affordable solution for easing the progression of mobility loss and improve independence and well-being for the UK's older generation.

As we get older it becomes ever more important to ensure we stay fit and active and in control of our lives, so that we can make the most of the retirement we've worked hard for.

Exercise is already known to help maintain our physical and cognitive functions, increase our ability of fighting off diseases and generally lift our spirits. Now, the research team at the University of Bath want to prove that steady exercises carried through to our golden years can help to alleviate mobility-related disabilities.