disability

  1. Disability linked to being sedentary

    How to hold onto your independence as you get older

    MOVE it... or LOSE it!

    When it comes down to it, that's the most important piece of advice I could ever give you -- especially if you're a little older.

    Sure, you need to eat right and watch your nutrition. Those are important parts of the "big" picture, including protection from killer conditions such as heart disease.

    But if you want to not only live longer but also keep your independence into your 70s, 80s, 90s, and beyond, you need to do something more.

    You need to get up on your feet and move around.

    New research confirms that the sedentary lifestyle is one of the single biggest risk factors for mobility loss -- and even crippling disability -- in older Americans.

    In other words, if you DON'T move it... you WILL lose it!

    You may not feel it happening. In fact, you probably won't, since it doesn't happen overnight. It can take years for the damage to sink in, which is why the new study didn't last just a year or two.

    It tracked older folks for a full decade, until many of them were in their late 70s and early 80s.

    If you move less than three hours per week, you're facing a higher risk of mobility loss when compared to folks who move more often, according to the study.

    If you spend too much time watching TV, you're also at risk. Your risk of mobility problems jumps by 65 percent if you're glued to the tube for five or more hours per day.

    And if you have both bad habits... if you move less than three hours a week and watch five or more hours of TV per day... you're facing TRIPLE the risk of mobility loss.

    This isn't a call to arms to join a gym or sign up for an exercise class. You don't need to learn Jazzercise, Zumba, or Tai chi... and you don't have to become a long-distance runner or take up tennis.

    Of course, you certainly CAN do any and all of those things if you enjoy them. But you don't HAVE to -- because the real key to lasting health benefits isn't in some gung-ho workout program.

    And the new study confirms it. As you've read right here in House Calls, it's in simply getting on your feet in any way you can.

    A casual walk, working in your garden, or just taking care of chores around the home will all count about as much as true "exercise" and help cut your odds of mobility problems and the other risks of a sedentary lifestyle.

    If you're looking for another way to keep on your feet, get a dog. The two or three walks a day will force you to keep moving, and a dog is an excellent companion -- especially if you live alone.

  2. Cut disability risk by walking

    A step-by-step plan to fight disability

    Let's face it: You don't bounce back the way you used to.

    Who does?

    As we get older, it takes our bodies a little longer to recover from strain, injury and the overall toll of life.

    We get injured more easily, and it seems to hurt more when it happens.

    Sometimes, it hurts a LOT more.

    It's tempting to just stay in, kick back and take it easy, whether you're nursing a disabling injury or just trying to avoid one.

    But the latest research shows how that's exactly what you SHOULDN'T do!

    The best way to avoid disability and injury -- and recover quicker when you do get hurt -- is to get up, get out, and keep on your feet.

    In the new study, 1,600 seniors between the ages of 70 and 89 were given either an education program to learn how to avoid injury along with stretching exercises, or an exercise program of 150 minutes of activity per week (that's a touch over 22 minutes a day).

    Don't be intimidated by the phrase "exercise program" here. The bulk of the "exercise" was walking, and the seniors were even allowed to use a cane if they needed one.

    More than two and a half years later, the folks who went through the walking program were 25 percent less likely to suffer from "major mobility disability" than the ones in the education and stretching program.

    Already that's a stunning benefit, because mobility disabilities often lead to other serious health problems. They can even force you into a nursing home.

    But if keeping your independence isn't reason enough to get up and get walking, the study also finds another major benefit.

    If you walk and suffer a disability anyway, you'll be a third more likely to recover from it than seniors who don't walk, according to the study in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

    That's not the only way walking can help you cope with some of the injuries and disabilities that come with aging. If you suffer from arthritis, every 1,000 steps you take per day can cut your risk of functional limitations by as much as 18 percent, according to a 2014 study.

    A daily walk can also help control blood sugar, protect your heart and even cut your risk of death from cancer.

    Of course, if you have the type of injury that makes walking painful, don't just push yourself to keep walking as you could make it worse.

    Instead, be sure to get a doc to take a look at it first.

  3. Sitting can hurt you

    Don't take aging sitting down. The more time you spend in a seat, the more likely you are to not have a choice about it -- because too much sitting is a major risk factor for mobility problems and even disability.

    In other words, move it... or lose it.

    Every hour you spend seated per day past the age of 60 will increase your risk of disability by 46 percent, according to one new study. Continue reading

  4. Mild depression in diabetics can lead to mobility problems

    Depressed diabetics have a higher risk of worsening disease and even physical problems.
  5. How to get on the path to healthy aging

    More than 20 million Americans are disabled because of osteoarthritis -- and in many cases, the condition is caused or worsened by obesity.
  6. Diabetics more likely to suffer physical disabilities

    Diabetics are up to 80 percent more likely to suffer from disability.
  7. Green tea can keep you on your toes

    Drop for drop, it's hard to top green tea when it comes to health benefits. The drink has been shown to help fight cancer, boost the immune system, and even help you to live longer. And now, a new study shows that it can keep you active and on your feet -- especially if you're getting up there in years.
  8. A stroke while you sleep

    The only thing scarier than a stroke is having one and not even knowing it. It's the so-called "silent" stroke -- given the name because it comes and goes with no symptoms.
  9. Wriggling away infection

    Maggots, as it turns out, are proving to be highly effective at treating diabetic wounds that won't heal -- the types of wounds that affect up to a third of all diabetics and often result in disability and even amputation.

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