Maximal, Not Habitual, Walking Velocity is More Highly Correlated to Functional Fitness of Community-Dwelling Older Adults

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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The aim of this investigation was to determine the relationship between usual and maximal walking velocities with measures of functional fitness (FF). Fifty-seven older adults (78.2 ± 6.6 years) were recruited from a local retirement community. All participants completed the following assessments: 10-m usual and maximal walk, Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB), 6-min walk (6MW), 8-foot up-and-go (UPGO), and 30-s chair stand. Based on their SPPB performance, low (≤ 9) and high (≥ 10) FF groups were formed. Among all participants, maximal walking velocity, not usual walking velocity, was significantly correlated with SPPB (r = .35; p < .05 and r = .19; p > .05, respectively). In the high functioning group, both maximal and usual walking velocities were correlated, but correlation coefficients were stronger for all variables for maximal walking velocity. These results suggest different walking conditions may be necessary to use for high and low functioning older adults; specifically, maximal walking velocity may be a preferred measure among high functioning older adults.

Gray is with the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR. Paulson is with the Department of Exercise Science, Shippensburg University of PA, Ship-pensburg, PA. Powers is with the Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, OK.

Address author correspondence to Michelle Gray at rgray@uark.edu.