Physical Fitness in Older People with Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia

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Karin Hesseberg
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Hege Bentzen
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Anette Hylen Ranhoff
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Knut Engedal
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Astrid Bergland
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Maintenance of physical activity and good physical fitness is important for functional independence. This study had two aims: examine the physical fitness level in older persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia, and examine the relationship between the components of physical fitness and cognitive domains in this group. The cross-sectional study included community-living older people ≥ 65 years of age with MCI or dementia. Physical fitness and cognition were assessed using the Senior Fitness Test and five cognitive tests. Most of the participants scored below the criteria for maintaining physical independence in later years. There were significant associations between the components of physical fitness and cognition, except flexibility. Declines in executive function were most related to declines in physical fitness. These factors should receive more attention in people with MCI and dementia because they risk losing independence.

Hesseberg, Bentzen, and Bergland are with Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway. Hesseberg is also with Diakonhjemmet Hospital, Norway. Hylen Ranhoff is with Diakonhjemmet Hospital, Norway; Kavli Research Centre for Geriatrics and Dementia, Haraldsplass Hospital, Bergen, Norway; and the Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen, Norway. Engedal is with the Norwegian Centre for Aging and Health, Vestfold Hospital Trust, Tønsberg, Norway.

Address author correspondence to Karin Hesseberg at karin.hesseberg@diakonsyk.no.
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