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Walking on cobblestones good for elderly health

3rd August 2005

Walking on a cobblestone mat is good for elderly people according to new research.

A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society revealed that walking on smooth stones improved physical function and reduced blood pressure more than regular walking.

Researchers, led by Dr Fuzhong Li at the Oregon Research Institute examined the effects of walking on 108 adults, with an average age of 77.5 years.

The participants took part in hour-long group exercise sessions of either regular walking or cobblestone walking three times a week for four months.

Dr Li said compared to regular walking the bumpy river-rock mat brought about health-related outcomes of reduced blood pressure and improvements in balance and physical function.

The team decided the stone surfaces stimulated acupoints on the feet which "elicit therapeutic responses that may contribute to health aging."

Dr Li added: "Since hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke, the outcomes have potential for improving the overall heart health of many people who may be at risk for cardiovascular disease."