Health Benefits of Cobblestone-Mat Walking: Preliminary Findings

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Fuzhong Li
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Peter Harmer
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Nicole L. Wilson
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K. John Fisher
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This study examined the effect of cobblestone-mat walking on health-related outcomes in older adults. Participants (mean age 72.6, N=40) were randomized into either an 8-week cobblestone-mat walking activity (n = 22) or a control group (n = 18). Cobblestone-mat walking entailed three 45-min sessions per week. Primary outcomes included SF-12 (mental, physical), instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), psychophysical well-being, daytime sleepiness, and pain. Secondary outcomes included resting blood pressure and perceived control of falls. The walkers experienced significantly improved SF-12 scores, IADLs, and psychophysical well-being and significantly reduced daytime sleepiness and pain. They also reported significantly improved perceptions of control over falls. A significant between-groups difference in resting diastolic blood pressure was observed, with reductions in the walkers. A significant within-group reduction in systolic blood pressure was observed in the walkers only. The data indicate that cobblestone-mat walking can significantly improve health-related outcomes in older adults.

Li, Wilson, and Fisher are with the Oregon Research Institute, 1715 Franklin Blvd., Eugene, OR 97403. Harmer is with the Dept. of Exercise Science, Willamette University, Salem, OR 97301.

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