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Momentum Builds for Promoting Senior Fitness  

Two recent developments, one scientific and one political, make a strong case for enacting policies that would help seniors pursue a healthy and active lifestyle.

A new study out of Norway suggests that "exercise therapy should be incorporated as a part of the treatment for older people at risk for functional decline." The study followed 115 older adults with a chronic disease recently discharged from the hospital. Following discharge, half of the study participants underwent a program of high-intensity aerobic interval exercise (HIA), while the other half performed low-intensity exercise activities. Both groups improved their health-related quality of life after three months, but the HIA group showed much greater improvement. The study comes on the heels of bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress that would provide Medicare beneficiaries with financial incentives to reach health goals.

The Medicare Better Health Rewards Program Act would focus on six health measurements: tobacco usage; body mass index; diabetes indicators; blood pressure; cholesterol; and, up-to-date vaccinations and screenings. “The Medicare Better Health Rewards program is based on a simple idea – if you help Medicare save money, you share in the savings,” said Senator Ron Wyden.

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