Adults over age 70 who are moderately active more than once a week can improve or maintain their level of frailty — not only physically, but psychologically and socially, according to a new pan-European study.

Researchers followed more than 1,200 adults in a program aimed at reducing fall risk, inappropriate medication use, loneliness, and frailty. Participants were asked how often they expended low or moderate energy in everyday activities such as gardening, washing a car, or taking a walk.

Regular frequency was defined as engaging in activities more than once a week, while low frequency was defined as engaging once a week or less.

Participants who were regularly, moderately active were found to be the least frail at baseline and at a 12-month follow-up. In contrast, their peers who were moderately active less than once a week were the most frail, reported corresponding author Hein Raat, M.D., Ph.D.

Notably, those who increased their level of activity to more than once a week also had an advantage. These participants were able to improve or at least maintain their level of frailty, wrote Raat, of Erasmus University, the Netherlands, and colleagues.

“These findings indicate that maintaining a regular frequency of physical activity as well as increasing the frequency of physical activity is associated with maintaining or improving overall frailty,” the researchers concluded.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.