THURSDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- Seniors with psychological
distress such as depression or anxiety are more likely to have
physical disabilities, a new Australian study says.
Regular physical activity, however, can protect against such
Researchers examined data from nearly 100,000 Australian men and
women, aged 65 and older, and found that 8.4 percent of them were
experiencing psychological distress.
Compared to those with no psychological distress, the risk of
physical disability was more than four times higher among those
with any level of psychological distress and nearly seven times
higher among those with moderate levels.
The researchers also found that seniors who were more physically
active were less likely to have physical disabilities.
The study appears April 5 in the
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
"Our findings can influence the emphasis that we place on older adults to remain active," study leader Gregory Kolt, dean of the School of Science and Health at the University of Western Sydney, said in a journal news release. "With greater levels of physical activity, more positive health gains can be achieved, and with greater physical function (through physical activity), greater independence can be achieved."
Previous research has linked psychological distress to reduced
physical activity and increased physical disability in many age
The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about
physical activity and exercise for seniors.