News Release February 25, 1998, Bethesda, MD - The Foot Health Foundation of America (the Foundation) - the education arm of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) - today issued guidelines for seniors in response to the recent release of two major long-term studies confirming the beneficial effects of regular walking on a person's overall health and well-being.
"Relatively low physical risks coupled with enormous long-term health benefits make walking perhaps the best fitness activity for many seniors," states Marc Lenet, DPM, president of APMA. "When establishing a fitness program, even minor setbacks can be very frustrating. These 'Walking Tips for Seniors' are designed to reduce the risk of often preventable foot and ankle injuries and ailments that could lead to inactivity, and prohibit many seniors from realizing the tremendous benefits of walking," added Lenet.
The first study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, followed 707 nonsmoking retired men, 61 to 81 years of age, who were in the Honolulu Heart Program. The study revealed that regular exercise walking lowered the risk of death from cancer and cardiovascular disease and - in general - prolonged life. Increasing the walking distance from just one to two miles produced even greater results. The second study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, tracked nearly 16,000 healthy men and women in a national registry of twins for an average of 19 years. Taking brisk half-hour walks just six times a month appeared to cut the risk of death by 44 percent among twins observed, and even occasional exercisers were 30 percent less likely to die than their sedentary twins.
"Now - more than ever - we are urging Americans to get up and go. These tips should serve as a great starting point, from choosing a proper walking sneaker to knowing where and when to walk," commented Dr. Lenet. "To ensure a successful and safe walking program, seniors should also consult their primary care and/or podiatric physician - especially if they have a family history of heart disease, poor circulation or diabetes, or if they have any pre-existing foot conditions."
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