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Exercise and eating healthily reduces the chance of becoming frail

21st November 2019

A 12-year study has revealed that eating healthily, exercising more and quitting smoking are all factors that could help you reduce your chances of becoming frail in older age.

Figures show that around 10% of over-65s are frail, meaning they are more likely to suffer from mobility problems and rely on aids such as new home stair lifts or accessible bathrooms. Scientists have found it difficult to pinpoint ways to delay the onslaught of frailty, but a team of scientists at Leicester’s De Montfort University revealed the biggest factors in becoming frail.

The study tracked around 9,000 participants over the age of 50 and the research found that age was the main risk factor for frailty.

It also discovered that a 67-year-old who is inactive and smokes has a 59% chance of being frail by the age of 79. In contrast, a person of the same age who regularly exercises and doesn’t smoke has only a 22% chance.

The results also revealed that participants who earned the least money (80%) and those with the greatest sensitivity to pain (39%) faced a greater risk.

Being obese (33%), smoking or previously being a smoker (29%) or having a high waist to hip ratio (25%) also increased the likelihood of becoming frail. Having a weak lower body and loneliness were other factors too.

Smoking is renowned for causing a variety of debilitating ailments such as heart disease and these have a knock-on effect on health. Exercise is known for improving muscle function and bone mass and this helps prevents falls, which is a major cause of frailty.

In an article on the Daily Mail, Dr Niederstrasser, who led the team behind the study, said: “By becoming more active, quitting smoking, and losing weight, a person may dramatically reduce their chance of becoming frail.

“For example, a person who does not smoke and is physically active has half the risk of becoming frail compared to a person who is physically inactive and smokes.”

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only and are up to date as of the time of publishing