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Jennifer L. Copeland, Samuel Y. Chu and Mark S. Tremblay

Women experience significant changes in endocrine function during aging. Decreasing levels of anabolic hormones may be associated with musculoskeletal atrophy and decrease in function that is observed in older women and, as a result, there has been an increase in the use of pharmacological hormone therapies. It is difficult to distinguish, however, between physiological changes that are truly age related and those that are associated with lifestyle factors such as physical activity participation. Some research has shown that circulating levels of anabolic hormones such as DHEA(S) and IGF-I in older women are related to physical activity, muscle function, and aerobic power. Exercise-intervention studies have generally shown that increasing age blunts the acute hormonal response to exercise, although this might be explained by a lower exercise intensity in older women. There have been relatively few studies that examine hormonal adaptations to exercise training. Physical activity might have an effect on hormone action as a result of changes in protein carriers and receptors, and future research needs to clarify the effect of age and exercise on these other components of the endocrine system. The value and safety of hormone supplements must be examined, especially when used in combination with an exercise program.

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Jennifer L. Etnier, Benjamin A. Sibley, Jeremy Pomeroy and James C. Kao

Research suggests that there are differences in response time (RespT) as a function of age but that aerobic fitness might have a facilitatory effect on RespT. This study was designed to examine this relationship while addressing methodological issues from past research. Men from 3 age groups completed speeded tasks, a physical activity questionnaire, and an aerobic-fitness test. Results indicated that age has a negative impact on RespT (specifically premotor time and movement time). The interaction of aerobic fitness by age was also a significant predictor of RespT (specifically movement time) such that aerobic fitness was positively related to speed of performance for older participants. It is concluded that aerobic fitness might serve a preservative function for speeded tasks in older adults.

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Bang Hyun Kim, Roberta A. Newton, Michael L. Sachs, Peter R. Giacobbi Jr. and Joseph J. Glutting

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a 6-wk intervention that used guided relaxation and exercise imagery (GREI) to increase self-reported leisure-time exercise behavior among older adults. A total of 93 community-dwelling healthy older adults (age 70.38 ± 8.15 yr, 66 female) were randomly placed in either a placebo control group or an intervention group. The intervention group received instructions to listen to an audio compact disk (CD) containing a GREI program, and the placebo control group received an audio CD that contained 2 relaxation tracks and instructions to listen to music of their choice for 6 wk. Results revealed that listening to a GREI CD for 6 wk significantly increased self-reported leisure-time exercise behaviors (p = .03). Further exploration of GREI and its effects on other psychological variables related to perceived exercise behaviors may substantiate its effectiveness.

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Ann-Kristin Beyer, Maja Wiest and Susanne Wurm

Self-perceptions of aging (SPA) are a resource in later life. As aging is accompanied with perceptions of the finitude of life, it is assumed that perceived residual lifetime may play a role in the relationship between SPA and health behavior. Among older adults aged 65 years and older, the present study tested whether the relationships between gain- and loss-related SPA and two kinds of physical activity are moderated by perceived residual lifetime. Data were based on 2.367 participants over a 3-year period. Participants with less gain-related SPA were less likely to walk on a regular basis; however, a longer residual lifetime compensated for this negative effect. In addition, participants did sports more often if they not only held less loss-related SPA but also perceived a longer residual lifetime. These results emphasize the importance of perceived residual lifetime in health promotion interventions targeting physical activity in older adults.

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Magnus Dencker, Bianca Hermansen, Anna Bugge, Karsten Froberg and Lars B. Andersen

This study investigated the predictors of aerobic fitness (VO2PEAK) in young children on a population-base. Participants were 436 children (229 boys and 207 girls) aged 6.7 ± 0.4 yrs. VO2PEAK was measured during a maximal treadmill exercise test. Physical activity was assessed by accelerometers. Total body fat and total fat free mass were estimated from skinfold measurements. Regression analyses indicated that significant predictors for VO2PEAK per kilogram body mass were total body fat, maximal heart rate, sex, and age. Physical activity explained an additional 4–7%. Further analyses showed the main contributing factors for absolute values of VO2PEAK were fat free mass, maximal heart rate, sex, and age. Physical activity explained an additional 3–6%.

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Jorge Mota, José Carlos Ribeiro, Henrique Barros, Jos W.R. Twisk, José Oliveira and José A. Duarte


The purpose of the study was to investigate the longitudinal relationship between physical activity and clustering of some cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors after 1-y follow-up.


The sample comprised 704 males and 770 females between the ages of 8 to 15 y. Clustering was defined as belonging to one or more sex and age-specific “high-risk” quartiles for biological risk factors. The longitudinal relationships were analyzed with multilevel analysis.


There was no longitudinal significant relationship between physical activity and individual biological risk factors. When biological risk factor clustering was considered, however, there was a significant longitudinal relationship with physical activity.


It can be concluded that even at a young age, physical activity can play an important role in developing a healthy lifestyle profile.

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Casey Mace Firebaugh, Simon Moyes, Santosh Jatrana, Anna Rolleston and Ngaire Kerse

The relationship between physical activity, function, and mortality is not established in advanced age. Physical activity, function, and mortality were followed in a cohort of Māori and non-Māori adults living in advanced age for a period of 6 years. Generalized linear regression models were used to analyze the association between physical activity and Nottingham Extended Activities of Daily Living scale, whereas Kaplan–Meier survival analysis and Cox proportional hazard models were used to assess the association between the physical activity and mortality. The hazard ratio for mortality for those in the least active physical activity quartile was 4.1 for Māori and 1.8 for non-Māori compared with the most active physical activity quartile. There was an inverse relationship between physical activity and mortality, with lower hazard ratios for mortality at all levels of physical activity. Higher levels of physical activity were associated with lower mortality and higher functional status in advanced-aged adults.

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Meridith Griffin, Brett Smith, P. David Howe and Cassandra Phoenix

In this paper we present a scoping review of literature on aging, visual impairment, and physical activity. Our objectives are to: (a) explore the available literature on aging, physical activity, and sight loss; (b) describe how participation in physical activity by older adults with visual impairment is understood by researchers; and, (c) identify benefits, barriers, and facilitators of physical activity participation as reported by older adults with age-related sight loss. Over 2,000 sources were reviewed, with 30 studies meeting eligibility criteria. Findings were organized into four thematic categories, namely: (a) participation rates; (b) health inequalities; (c) barriers to physical activity participation; and, (d) benefits of physical activity participation. Through this scoping review process, extant knowledge was synthesized and gaps in the literature were critically assessed. To address these gaps, several avenues for future research are outlined and described, alongside a consideration of the implications of the scoping review findings for both policy and practice.

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Teresa Liu-Ambrose and John R. Best

Cognitive decline is a common feature of aging. Physical activity is a modifiable lifestyle factor that has been identified as positively impacting cognitive health of older adults. Here, we review the current evidence from epidemiological (i.e., longitudinal cohort) and intervention studies on the role of physical activity and exercise in promoting cognitive health in older adults both with and without cognitive impairment. We highlight some of the potential underlying mechanisms and discuss some of the potential modifying factors, including exercise type and target population, by reviewing recent converging behavioral, neuroimaging, and biomarker evidence linking physical activity with cognitive health. We conclude with limitations and future directions for this rapidly expanding line of research.

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Stephen H. Boutcher, Barbara J. Meyer, Gemma A. Craig and Lee Astheimer

The relationship between aging, physical activity, and vagal influence on the heart was assessed by measuring resting heart period variability in postmenopausal women. Participants were 14 aerobically trained women (mean age 55 ± 1.0 years) and 20 untrained women (mean age 59 ± 1.1 years). Participants lay for 25 min while heart period variability was assessed during spontaneous and paced breathing (7.5 breaths · min-1). Heart period variability was assessed through time series analysis (HPVts) of the interbeat interval. Results indicated I that the trained women had significantly (p < .05) lower supine resting heart rate than the untrained group. HPVts at high frequencies during spontaneous and paced breathing was greater for trained compared to untrained participants. Similarly, HPVts at medium frequencies during spontaneous and paced breathing was greater for trained compared to untrained participants. Also, rate pressure product of the trained group was significantly lower than for the untrained. These results extend prior research by showing that aerobically trained postmenopausal women possessed significantly elevated resting vagal influence on the heart compared to their untrained counterparts.