Move it now or lose it later, says new research

When it comes to mobility, if you don’t use it, you stand a good chance of losing it.

That’s according to new research that analyzed a decade’s worth of data from more than 130,000 people between the ages of 50 and 71. The findings were reported last month in The Journals of Gerontology.

The data showed a relationship between TV watching and disability. Between 1995 and 2006, those who reported watching more than five hours of TV daily and got three or fewer hours of physical activity weekly were three times more likely to be unable to walk or have trouble walking by study’s end.

In other words, if you sit around now, you might not be able to walk later.

“Physical activity” in the study included light-intensity exercise such as housework and shopping, as well as moderate-to-vigorous–intensity movements including brisk walking, yard work and jogging.

Although computers, mobile phones and the ability to stream movies and TV shows have increased the amount of time people spend sitting, it’s possible and beneficial to build exercise into everyday activities. Here are some tips:

  • If you’re using the computer, get up and move around at least once an hour.
  • Try using a standing desk.
  • If you’re watching TV, stand up and move around during the commercials.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Park farther from the store or the workplace.

Next Steps: