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Alessandra de Carvalho Bastone, Eduardo Ferriolli, Claudine Patricia Teixeira, João Marcos Domingues Dias and Rosângela Corrêa Dias

Background:

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.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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).

Conclusions:

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.

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Natalie Frost, Michael Weinborn, Gilles E. Gignac, Shaun Markovic, Stephanie R. Rainey-Smith, Hamid R. Sohrabi, Ralph N. Martins, Jeremiah J. Peiffer and Belinda M. Brown

Objectives: To examine the associations between physical activity duration and intensity, cardiorespiratory fitness, and executive function in older adults. Methods: Data from 99 cognitively normal adults (age = 69.10 ± 5.1 years; n = 54 females) were used in the current study. Physical activity (intensity and duration) was measured with the International Physical Activity Questionnaire, and fitness was measured by analysis of maximal aerobic capacity, VO2peak. Executive function was measured comprehensively, including measures of Shifting, Updating, Inhibition, Generativity, and Nonverbal Reasoning. Results: Higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness were associated with better performance on Generativity (B = .55; 95% confidence interval [.15, .97]). No significant associations were found between self-reported physical activity intensity/duration and executive functions. Discussion: To our knowledge, this study is the first to identify an association between fitness and Generativity. Associations between physical activity duration and intensity and executive function requires further study, using objective physical activity measures and longitudinal observations.

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P. Margaret Grant, Philippa M. Dall, Sarah L. Mitchell and Malcolm H. Granat

The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the accuracy of the activPAL physical activity monitor in measuring step number and cadence in older adults. Two pedometers (New-Lifestyles Digi-Walker SW-200 and New-Lifestyles NL-2000) used in clinical practice to count steps were simultaneously evaluated. Observation was the criterion measure. Twenty-one participants (65-87 yr old) recruited from community-based exercise classes walked on a treadmill at 5 speeds (0.67, 0.90, 1.12, 1.33, and 1.56 m/s) and outdoors at 3 self-selected speeds (slow, normal, and fast). The absolute percentage error of the activPAL was <1% for all treadmill and outdoor conditions for measuring steps and cadence. With the exception of the slowest treadmill speed, the NL-2000 error was <2%. The SW-200 was the least accurate device, particularly at slower walking speeds. The activPAL monitor accurately recorded step number and cadence. Combined with its ability to identify primary postures, the activPAL might be a useful and versatile device for measuring activity in older adults.

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Kimberlee A. Gretebeck, Kaitlyn Radius, David R. Black, Randall J. Gretebeck, Rosemary Ziemba and Lawrence T. Glickman

Background:

Regular walking improves overall health and functional ability of older adults, yet most are sedentary. Dog ownership/pet responsibility may increase walking in older adults. Goals of this study were to identify factors that influence older adult walking and compare physical activity, functional ability and psychosocial characteristics by dog ownership status.

Methods:

In this cross-sectional study, older adults (65−95 years of age, n = 1091) completed and returned questionnaires via postal mail. Measures included: Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly, Physical Functioning Questionnaire and Theory of Planned Behavior Questionnaire.

Results:

Dog owner/dog walkers (n = 77) reported significantly (P < .05) more total walking, walking frequency, leisure and total physical activity and higher total functional ability than dog owner/nondog walkers (n = 83) and nondog owners (n = 931). Dog owner/nondog walkers reported lower intention and perceived behavioral control and a less positive attitude than dog owner/dog walkers (P < .05).

Conclusions:

Dog owner/dog walkers were significantly different than the nondog walker groups in nearly every study variable. Many dog owners (48.1%) reported walking their dogs regularly and the dog owner/dog walkers participated in nearly 50% more total walking than the 2 nondog walking groups, suggesting that pet obligation may provide a purposeful activity that motivates some older dog owners to walk.

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Kathleen Benjamin, Nancy C. Edwards and Virendra K. Bharti

For seniors, an inactive lifestyle can result in declines in mental and physical functioning, loss of independence, and poorer quality of life. This cross-sectional descriptive study examined theory-of-planned-behavior, health-status, and sociodemographic predictors on exercise intention and behavior among 109 older and physically frail adults. Significant predictors of being a high versus a low active were a strong intention to continue exercising, positive indirect attitudes about exercise, and having been advised by a doctor to exercise. Findings indicate that a strong intention to continue exercising differentiates between those who report low levels and those who report high levels of physical activity. The results also highlight the salience of physician’s advice for seniors to exercise.

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John R. Biggan, Forest Melton, Michael A. Horvat, Mark Ricard, David Keller and Christopher T. Ray

The understanding of prefrail and nonfrail older adults’ postural control with and without increased environmental and cognitive stress is imperative to the development of targeted interventions to decrease fall risk within these populations. Thirty-eight individuals participated in this study. Postural control testing included the Sensory Organization Test (SOT) on a NeuroCom EquiTest. Cognitive and environmental load testing was performed during Condition 6 of the SOT. Though there were no group differences on composite equilibrium score (p = .06), the cognitive task (Stroop task) impaired equilibrium scores more than the auditory or visual distracter tasks (p < .05 and p < .01) for both groups. These results suggest that both prefrail and nonfrail older adults’ postural control is reduced in demanding environments. Given these findings, the need for multimodal exercise interventions to target both physical and cognitive factors is apparent.

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Bo Wang, Zheng Li, Maohua Miao, Xiaoqin Liu, Huiqing Wang, Guoqing Liang, Zhiyong Liu, Yinghao Sun and Wei Yuan

Background:

Research on the relationship between physical activity and aging symptoms among men is limited in China.

Methods:

Eight hundred nineteen participants aged 40 to 70 (mean age = 58.25) were administered the International Physical Activity Questionnaire and Aging Males’ Symptoms scale (AMS) in face-to-face interviews between 2009 and 2010. Ordinal logistic regression and generalized linear models were used to examine severity of aging symptoms. AMS total score and subscale scores (psychological, somatic, and sexual health) were examined according to physical activity level.

Results:

Participants who reported higher levels of physical activity were significantly less likely to develop aging symptoms compared with those who reported lower levels of physical activity, both with (odds ratio [OR] = 0.78, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.64 to 0.95) and without (OR = 0.70, 95% CI: 0.56 to 0.87) adjustment for age, body mass index (BMI), smoking, alcohol consumption, and chronic disease. In addition, physical activity was negatively correlated with AMS total score (P < .01) and scores for somatic (P < .01) and sexual (P = .04) health. After covariate adjustment, the negative correlation between physical activity and all AMS scores remained significant (P < .01).

Conclusion:

Physical activity is negatively correlated with aging symptoms among middle-aged men in Shanghai.

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M. Papiol, M. Serra-Prat, J. Vico, N. Jerez, N. Salvador, M. Garcia, M. Camps, X. Alpiste and J. López

Objective:

To determine the prevalence of five physical frailty phenotype components and to assess the relationship between them and other clinical factors.

Method:

A population-based cross-sectional study was performed. Subjects 75 years and older were randomly selected from primary care databases (with sampling stratified by gender). Physical frailty phenotypes were assessed using Fried’s criteria. Sociodemographic data, comorbidities, nutritional status, and functional capacity were assessed.

Results:

126 subjects were recruited (47% women). Prevalence rates were poor muscle strength: 50%; low physical activity: 29%; slow gait: 28%; exhaustion: 27%; and weight loss: 5%. Prefrailty and frailty prevalence rates were 35.7% and 29.4%, respectively. Poor muscle strength and low physical activity showed a close relationship and concordance (kappa = 0.92). Most frailty components were associated with outdoor activity, hours walked daily, and certain comorbidities.

Conclusions:

Poor muscle strength was the most prevalent frailty component and was closely associated with physical activity, suggesting that training programs may revert or prevent the frailty process.

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Michelle Gray, Sally Paulson and Melissa Powers

The aim of this investigation was to determine the relationship between usual and maximal walking velocities with measures of functional fitness (FF). Fifty-seven older adults (78.2 ± 6.6 years) were recruited from a local retirement community. All participants completed the following assessments: 10-m usual and maximal walk, Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB), 6-min walk (6MW), 8-foot up-and-go (UPGO), and 30-s chair stand. Based on their SPPB performance, low (≤ 9) and high (≥ 10) FF groups were formed. Among all participants, maximal walking velocity, not usual walking velocity, was significantly correlated with SPPB (r = .35; p < .05 and r = .19; p > .05, respectively). In the high functioning group, both maximal and usual walking velocities were correlated, but correlation coefficients were stronger for all variables for maximal walking velocity. These results suggest different walking conditions may be necessary to use for high and low functioning older adults; specifically, maximal walking velocity may be a preferred measure among high functioning older adults.

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Alessandra de Carvalho Bastone, Bruno de Souza Moreira, Renata Alvarenga Vieira, Renata Noce Kirkwood, João Marcos Domingues Dias and Rosângela Corrêa Dias

The purpose of this study was to assess the validity of the Human Activity Profile (HAP) by comparing scores with accelerometer data and by objectively testing its cutoff points. This study included 120 older women (age 60–90 years). Average daily time spent in sedentary, moderate, and hard activity; counts; number of steps; and energy expenditure were measured using an accelerometer. Spearman rank order correlations were used to evaluate the correlation between the HAP scores and accelerometer variables. Significant relationships were detected (rho = .47−.75, p < .001), indicating that the HAP estimates physical activity at a group level well; however, scatterplots showed individual errors. Receiver operating characteristic curves were constructed to determine HAP cutoff points on the basis of physical activity level recommendations, and the cutoff points found were similar to the original HAP cutoff points. The HAP is a useful indicator of physical activity levels in older women.