Aerobic Fitness and Habitual Physical Activity in Frail and Nonfrail Community-Dwelling Elderly

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Self-reported measures of decreased aerobic fitness and low physical activity are criteria of frailty. However, research assessing aerobic fitness and physical activity levels associated with frailty is limited. Therefore, the aims of this study were to objectively assess the aerobic fitness and the physical activity level of frail and nonfrail elderly, and to examine the association between frailty, aerobic fitness and habitual physical activity.


This study included 26 elderly (66 to 86 years), randomly selected. The groups (frail/nonfrail) were age and sex paired. Peak oxygen consumption, maximal walking distance and speed were assessed during the incremental shuttle walk test (ISWT). Average daily time spent in sedentary, light, moderate and hard activity, counts, number of steps and energy expenditure were measured by accelerometry.


All variables measured by the ISWT and accelerometer differed significantly between the groups (P < .02). All aerobic fitness and physical activity variables were significantly associated with frailty, independent of the number of chronic health conditions (P < .05).


Frailty is associated with low peak oxygen consumption and low physical activity level. These findings could guide future clinical trials designed to evaluate the efficacy of aerobic exercises in the prevention and treatment of frailty.

Bastone ( and Teixeira are with the Dept of Physical Therapy, Federal University of Vales do Jequitinhonha e Mucuri, Diamantina, MG, Brazil. Ferriolli is with the Dept of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto / University of São Paulo, Brazil. JMD Dias and RC Dias are with the Postgraduate Program in Rehabilitation Sciences, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais/UFMG, Brazil.