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Even the very elderly and frail can benefit from exercise
Date:9/6/2012

This release is available in French.

A study carried out by Dr. Louis Bherer, PhD (Psychology), Laboratory Director and Researcher at the Institut universitaire de griatrie de Montral (IUGM), an institution affiliated with Universit de Montral, has shown that all seniors, even those considered frail, can enjoy the benefits of exercise in terms of their physical and cognitive faculties and quality of life and that these benefits appear after only three months.

This discovery is excellent news, as increased life expectancy has also increased the number of frail seniors in our communities. In geriatrics, frailness is characterized by decreased functional reserves in an individual, which increases vulnerability to stressors and the risk of adverse health effects. Frailty is associated with a higher risk of falls, hospitalizations, cognitive decline and psychological distress. Currently, 7% of seniors aged 65 to 74, 18% of those aged 75 to 84, and 37% of seniors over the age of 85 are considered frail.

"For the first time, frail senior citizens have participated in a study on exercise thanks to the collaboration of medical doctors at IUGM, who provided close medical supervision. My team was able to demonstrate that sedentary and frail senior citizens can benefit from major improvements not only in terms of physical function but also brain function, such as memory, and quality of life," stated Dr. Bherer.

"We hope to adapt the exercise program used in the study and make it available to the public through the seniors' health promotion centre that the IUGM is developing. We believe that by transferring our research findings to the public, we will help both healthy and frail senior citizens stay at home longer," concluded the researcher.

Research summary

In this study, 43 of the 83 participants between the ages of 6
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Contact: Genevive Desrosiers
genevieve.desrosiers.iugm@ssss.gouv.qc.ca
514-340-2800 x3298
University of Montreal
Source:Eurekalert

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