DO OLDER ADULTS WHO MEET 2008 PHYSICAL ACTIVITY GUIDLINES HAVE BETTER PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE THAT THOSE WHO DO NOT MEET? O

Review written by Dr Mariana Wingood info

BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE:

Physical inactivity is a global health concern that accounts for 9% of pre-mature deaths, making it the fourth leading cause of mortality (1). The prevalence of inactivity increases with age (2). Aging can also result in increased loss of muscle strength and power, leading to a decline in functional mobility, activities of daily living, and need for caregiver assistance (3). These age-related risk factors can be prevented or reversed when individuals follow the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-vigorous physical activity (PA) per week and strengthening two times per week (4, 5). With less than ten percent of older adults meeting the PA guidelines (4, 5), it is important to have a deeper understanding of the benefits of PA.

To improve understanding of the effects of meeting the recommended levels of PA, the authors of this study assessed the relationship between PA behaviors and physical performance measures. Their hypothesis was that if an individual meets the recommended PA levels then they would have higher scores on the selected physical performance measures.

METHODS

Participants: 85 community-dwelling older adults who were not using an assistive device and did not have dizziness or vertigo, pain with weight bearing, diagnoses of balance disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, or history of a cardiac event.

Method: Participants were grouped by whether they met 2008 PA Guidelines for (1) muscle strengthening 2 or more days per week, (2) muscle strengthening 2 or more days per week using all major muscle groups (upper extremity, lower extremity and trunk), and (3) 150 minutes or more per week of moderate-vigorous physical activity. The physical performance measures used were grip strength, 5x sit to stand (5xSTS), stair climb test (SCT), and 10-meter gait speed (GS).

RESULTS

As hypothesized, participants who met the PA guidelines performed better on all four physical performance measures. However, they differed on which measure was statistically significant for each grouping – those who met the strengthening 2 or more days/week had significant

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