Scientists say taking a short walk every day can mean the difference between keeping up everyday activities or becoming housebound. This applies to office workers, computer nerds and stay at homes as well as those who have reached their twilight years.
The US study Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders,(LIFE), spent two and a half years following 1,635 sedentary men and women aged 70 to 89 who could walk a quarter of a mile within 15 minutes but were at risk of losing that ability.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that a modest increase in physical activity of walking as little as 1/4 mile can help older adults maintain their movement and therefore their independence.
The second group attended health education classes and performed stretching exercises. Their mobility, weight and blood pressure was regularly checked.
The exercise led to a 28 per cent reduction in people permanently losing the ability to walk easily.
This doesn't apply to everyone. I know from personal experience. After 4 hip replacement operations, I'm left with a crooked leg which worsens yearly. After recovering from the forth botched job, I felt fit enough to continue with my physical job working in catering. However, once I retired, my ability to walk without pain or an aid steadily declined.
Some people of advancing age live alone. How do they force themselves to make the daily trial?
'When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark'.
Everybody doesn't have a nature park or strip of forest close by. But even if they live in a built-up suburb, they can feel the wind on their face and hear an occasional chirp from a bird sitting on a telegraph pole if not the splendor of a tree.