An article in the Metronews by Celia Milne highlights the importance and benefit of walking mobility whilst hospitalized. Quoting a study of 485 patients over 70 years of age who were in hospital for 2 days or more, the researchers found that those patients who had no medical contraindications to being ambulatory and who walked around the room and the hospital ward shortened their hospital stay by an average of 1 ½ days compared to those who stayed in bed or remained seated. “Mobility was beneficial for patients regardless of functional status, age, cognitive ability, sex and severity of illness.”

What does this tell us? The old maxim of ‘if you don’t use it, you lose it’ is especially important in older patients who are more susceptible to ‘going off their feet’ and simply walking a bit more is enough to achieve better health outcomes.

Source: metronews.ca, August 16, 2011

— Gareth Sneath, gsneath@orthophysio.com