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Casual Strolls May Be Risky for Older Women

Cause more injuries than any other non-equipment exercise

WEDNESDAY, June 30, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Walking is a popular and healthy activity, but it also causes more injuries among older women than any other exercise using no equipment, says a University of Arkansas study.

Researchers examined data from hundreds of U.S. emergency room visits by women aged 65 and older who were injured while doing exercise that required no equipment. This included walking, aerobics, hiking, swimming, stretching, yoga, and tai chi.

Walking was the activity most frequently linked to injury. Falls were the major cause of injuries while walking.

"Environmental hazards were a big issue -- like when you're walking or hiking, and you encounter obstacles such as street curbs, rocks, holes, and even animals," researcher Ches Jones, an associate health science professor, said in a prepared statement.

Falls are a particular concern for older women, due to their increased risk for fractures.

"It brings up the question, 'Is walking the best activity for this age group?' It is obviously popular and healthy, but is the best?" Jones said.

The study was presented recently at the World Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion in Vienna. It will be published in the summer 2005 issue of the Journal of Women and Aging.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about walking.

SOURCE: University of Arkansas, news release, June 2004
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