The focus of a physically active lifestyle for older adults is to preserve functional mobility and delay losses associated with decrepitude in later years. Since ambulation is of utmost importance to older adults’ mobility, the purpose of this nonexhaustive review is to consider older adults’ walking behaviors objectively captured as steps/day and the factors that shape them. Summarized evidence currently indicates that apparently healthy older adults accumulate between 2,000–9,000 steps/day and that older adults living with disabilities and/or chronic conditions average approximately 1,200–8,800 steps/day. The scientific body of objectively monitored knowledge focused on potential individual, program, and contextual factors that shape older adults’ walking behaviors expressed as steps/day (i.e., their ability to and practice of getting “out and about”) is infantile at this time. We provide a simple research agenda to spark scholarly efforts to address research gaps and opportunities in the collective knowledge base.
Tudor-Locke is with the Department of Kinesiology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA; as well as the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge. Broyles is with the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA.