Changes in physical activity levels were followed over 5 years and the relationship between baseline physical activity and survival was investigated among residents of Jyväskylä. Baseline interviews were carried out for 109 men and 204 women age 75, and 67 men and 178 women age 80. At the time of the follow-up interviews 5 years later. 23 men and 37 women who were age 75 at baseline and 23 men and 50 women who were age 80 at baseline had died. Activity decreased significantly over the 5-year period in all groups. A greater proportion of women than men decreased their activity level in both age groups. Physical activity was significantly associated with better survival (p = .006) in the 80-year-old women, and a similar significant difference (p = .024) was observed among 75-year-old men. The differences in the survival curves in the other groups, although similar, were not statistically significant due to the small number of subjects and lack of statistical power.
The authors are with the The Finnish Center for Interdisciplinary Gerontology and the Department of Health Sciences. University of Jyväskylä. Direct correspondence to Eino Heikkinen. Department of Health Sciences. University of Jyväskylä. P.O. Box 35. FTN-40351 Jyväskylä. Finland.