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New Study shows exercise and good nutrition can prevent or even reverse frailty

What is Frailty?

As we age our bodies can sometimes lose our in-built reserve or ability to cope with what used to be minor events such as colds and coughs, changes of environment or medications. In frailty, when this happens, these seemingly small changes can cause sudden and dramatic changes in the health of an older person leading to increased periods of hospitalisation and declining ability to look after themselves without significant help.

What can we do about it?

A recent study looked at what could be done to help prevent frailty. In the study men and women over 65 years old (some with mild frailty some with no frailty) were given 10 simple strength exercises to complete for 20 minutes a day at least 4 times a week in addition to walking for 30 – 45 minutes 3 – 4 times a week. They were also given advice on getting enough protein in their diets.

In just three months the risk of being frail significantly reduced with mild frailty being reversed in around 11% of the group. Participants showed improvements in hand grip strength, their muscles and bone density. Importantly, most of the participants found the exercise plan and diet easy to stick to and 69% felt better as a result! 

It’s never too late to start getting strong and increasing how much you move – it can protect you from developing frailty and improve your well-being.


Building resilience and reversing frailty: a randomised controlled trial of a primary care intervention for older adults Age and Ageing, Volume 52, Issue 2, February 2023

About the author

Lesley Hodgson - BSc - MCSP - HCPC

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