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.
Johanna Eronen, Mikaela von Bonsdorff, Merja Rantakokko, Erja Portegijs, Anne Viljanen, and Taina Rantanen
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.
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.
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.
Heidi Skantz, Timo Rantalainen, Laura Karavirta, Merja Rantakokko, Lotta Palmberg, Erja Portegijs, and Taina Rantanen
The authors examined whether accelerometer-based free-living walking differs between those reporting walking modifications or perceiving walking difficulty versus those with no difficulty. Community-dwelling 75-, 80-, or 85-year-old people (N = 479) wore accelerometers continuously for 3–7 days, and reported whether they perceived no difficulties, used walking modifications, or perceived difficulties walking 2 km. Daily walking minutes, walking bouts, walking bout intensity and duration, and activity fragmentation were calculated from accelerometer recordings, and cut points for increased risk for perceiving walking difficulties were calculated using receiver operating characteristic analysis. The authors’ analyses showed that accumulating ≤83.1 daily walking minutes and walking bouts duration ≤47.8 s increased the likelihood of reporting walking modifications and difficulties. Accumulating walking bouts ≤99.4 per day, having walking bouts ≤0.119 g intensity, and ≥0.257 active to sedentary transition probability fragmented activity pattern were associated only with perceiving walking difficulties. The findings suggest that older people’s accelerometer-based free-living walking reflects their self-reported walking capability.
Milla Saajanaho, Anne Viljanen, Sanna Read, Merja Rantakokko, Li-Tang Tsai, Jaakko Kaprio, Marja Jylhä, and Taina Rantanen
This study investigated the associations of personal goals with exercise activity, as well as the relationships between exercise-related and other personal goals, among older women. Both cross-sectional and longitudinal designs were used with a sample of 308 women ages 66–79 at baseline. Women who reported exercise-related personal goals were 4 times as likely to report high exercise activity at baseline than those who did not report exercise-related goals. Longitudinal results were parallel. Goals related to cultural activities, as well as to busying oneself around the home, coincided with exercise-related goals, whereas goals related to own and other people’s health and independent living lowered the odds of having exercise-related goals. Helping older adults to set realistic exercise-related goals that are compatible with their other life goals may yield an increase in their exercise activity, but this should be evaluated in a controlled trial.