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Li-Tang Tsai, Merja Rantakokko, Anne Viljanen, Milla Saajanaho, Johanna Eronen, Taina Rantanen and Erja Portegijs

This cross-sectional study investigated associations between reasons to go outdoors and objectively-measured walking activity in various life-space areas among older people. During the study, 174 community-dwelling older people aged 75–90 from central Finland wore an accelerometer over seven days and recorded their reasons to go outdoors in an activity diary. The most common reasons for going outdoors were shopping, walking for exercise, social visits, and running errands. Activities done in multiple life-space areas contributed more to daily step counts than those done in the neighborhood or town and beyond. Those who went shopping or walked for exercise accumulated higher daily step counts than those who did not go outdoors for these reasons. These results show that shopping and walking for exercise are common reasons to go outdoors for community-dwelling older people and may facilitate walking activity in older age. Future studies on how individual trips contribute to the accumulation of steps are warranted.

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Johanna Eronen, Mikaela von Bonsdorff, Merja Rantakokko, Erja Portegijs, Anne Viljanen and Taina Rantanen

Life-space mobility describes the extent of community mobility of older persons. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to examine the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and life-space mobility and to investigate whether associations might be explained by SES-related disparities in health and functioning. The participants (n = 848) were community-dwelling adults aged 75–90. Education and occupation were used to indicate SES. Life-space assessment (range 0–120) was used to indicate distance and frequency of moving and assistance needed in moving. People with low education had lower life-space mobility scores than those with intermediate or high education: marginal means 63.5, 64.8, and 70.0 (p = .003), respectively. SES-related health disparities, i.e., higher body mass index, poorer cognitive capacity, and poorer physical performance explained the association, rendering it nonsignificant (marginal means 65.2, 65.3, and 67.5, p = .390). Low SES and restricted life-space mobility often coexist with overweight, reduced cognition, and poorer physical performance.

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Kirsi E. Keskinen, Merja Rantakokko, Kimmo Suomi, Taina Rantanen and Erja Portegijs

The authors studied associations of nature- and infrastructure-based features with physical activity (PA) in different urban neighborhood types; 848 community-dwelling people aged 75–90 years reported PA and three perceived nature-based destinations and seven infrastructure-based features as outdoor mobility facilitators. Neighborhood type was defined using a geographic information system based on proximity to central service areas and residential density (city center, subcenter, and dense and dispersed areas outside centers). PA was higher in dense areas and the city center. Binary logistic regression showed that perceiving nature-based destinations increased the odds for higher PA in the city center and areas outside centers. In dispersed areas, perceived infrastructure-based facilitators were especially associated with higher PA. Environmental features were not associated with PA in subcenters. Higher residential density, as a proxy for a higher amount of infrastructure, rather than center proximity, may underlie older adults’ PA. The spatial context should be acknowledged in studies on environment–PA associations.

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Lotta Palmberg, Erja Portegijs, Taina Rantanen, Eeva Aartolahti, Anne Viljanen, Mirja Hirvensalo and Merja Rantakokko

Background: Many older people report a willingness to increase outdoor physical activity (PA), but no opportunities for it, a situation termed as unmet PA need. The authors studied whether lower neighborhood mobility and PA precede the development of unmet PA need. Methods: Community-dwelling 75- to 90-year-old people (n = 700) were interviewed annually for 2 years. Unmet PA need, neighborhood mobility, and PA were self-reported. In addition, accelerometer-based step counts were assessed among a subgroup (n = 156). Results: Logistic regression analyses revealed that lower baseline neighborhood mobility (odds ratio 3.02, 95% confidence interval [1.86, 4.90] vs. daily) and PA (odds ratio 4.37, 95% confidence interval [2.62, 7.29] vs. high) were associated with the development of unmet PA need over 2 years. The participants with higher step counts had a lower risk for unmet PA need (odds ratio 0.68, 95% confidence interval, [0.54, 0.87]). Conclusion: Maintaining higher PA levels and finding solutions for daily outdoor mobility, especially for those with declines in health, may protect from the development of unmet PA need.

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Erja Portegijs, Sanna Read, Inka Pakkala, Mauri Kallinen, Ari Heinonen, Taina Rantanen, Markku Alen, Ilkka Kiviranta, Sanna Sihvonen and Sarianna Sipilä

Our aim was to study the effects of sense of coherence (SOC) on training adherence and interindividual changes in muscle strength, mobility, and balance after resistance training in older people with hip fracture history. These are secondary analyses of a 12-week randomized controlled trial of progressive resistance training in 60- to 85-year-old community-dwelling people 0.5–7 years after hip fracture (n = 45; ISRCTN34271567). Pre- and posttrial assessments included SOC, knee extension strength, walking speed, timed up-and-go (TUG), and Berg Balance Scale (BBS). Group-by-SOC interaction effects (repeated-measures ANOVA) were statistically significant for TUG (p = .005) and BBS (p = .040), but not for knee extension strength or walking speed. Weaker SOC was associated with poorer training adherence (mixed model; p = .009). Thus, more complicated physical tasks did not improve in those with weaker SOC, independently of training adherence. Older people with weaker SOC may need additional psychosocial support in physical rehabilitation programs to optimize training response.