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  • Author: M. Paige Powell x
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Michelle Y. Martin, M. Paige Powell, Claire Peel, Sha Zhu and Richard Allman

This study examined whether leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) was associated with health-care utilization in a racially diverse sample of rural and urban older adults. Community-dwelling adults (N = 1,000, 75.32 ± 6.72 years old) self-reported participating in LTPA and their use of the health-care system (physician visits, number and length of hospitalizations, and emergency-room visits). After controlling for variables associated with health and health-care utilization, older adults who reported lower levels of LTPA also reported a greater number of nights in the hospital in the preceding year. There was no support, however, for a relationship between LTPA and the other indicators of health-care utilization. Our findings suggest that being physically active might translate to a quicker recovery for older adults who are hospitalized. Being physically active might not only have health benefits for older persons but also lead to lower health-care costs.