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Study looks at link between sedentary lifestyle and disability

Most of us have heard about the benefits of daily exercise and the importance of staying generally active. Now, research is showing that not only is it important to stay active, but it is important to avoid long periods of sitting. This is especially the case for older Americans, for whom more sitting can increase the chances of disability, regardless of the time they spend in activity.

According to the study, which was written by a researcher from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Americans 60 years old and above had a 46 percent increased risk of becoming disabled for every hour they spent sitting daily. Those numbers were drawn from data collected between 2003 and 2006. 

The research was unable to conclude whether lack of movement leads to disability or vice versa, but it at least established a connection. Further research would be needed to determine causation. The key for adults is that staying active is a good thing, and is associated with less risk of disability. For many Americans who are already disabled, appropriate exercise can also be helpful.

Disability, of course, can leave one with more than an inability to exercise and stay active, but can also lead to challenges obtaining gainful employment and staying afloat financially. For those who need extra financial support, Social Security disability income is an important lifeline. Those who are interested in how the program works and whether they qualify for disability benefits should contact an experienced Social Security disability attorney. 

Source: Reuters, “Sitting tied to disability among older Americans: study,” Andrew M. Seaman, February 19, 2014. 

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