Physical Activity in Non-Frail and Frail Older Adults

F.M. Jansen, R.G. Prins, A. Etman, H.P. van der Ploeg, S.I. de Vries, F.J. Lenthe, F.H. Pierik

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48 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Physical activity (PA) is important for healthy ageing. Better insight into objectively measured PA levels in older adults is needed, since most previous studies employed self-report measures for PA assessment, which are associated with overestimation of PA. Aim: This study aimed to provide insight in objectively measured indoor and outdoor PA of older adults, and in PA differences by frailty levels. Methods: Data were collected among non-frail (N = 74) and frail (N = 10) subjects, aged 65 to 89 years. PA, measured for seven days with accelerometers and GPS-devices, was categorized into three levels of intensity (sedentary, light, and moderate-to-vigorous PA). Results: Older adults spent most time in sedentary and light PA. Subjects spent 84.7%, 15.1% and 0.2% per day in sedentary, light and moderate-to-vigorous PA respectively. On average, older adults spent 9.8 (SD 23.7) minutes per week in moderate-to-vigorous activity, and 747.0 (SD 389.6) minutes per week in light activity. None of the subjects met the WHO recommendations of 150 weekly minutes of moderate-to-vigorous PA. Age-, sex- and health status-adjusted results revealed no differences in PA between non-frail and frail older adults. Subjects spent significantly more sedentary time at home, than not at home. Non-frail subjects spent significantly more time not at home during moderate-to-vigorous activities, than at home. Conclusions: Objective assessment of PA in older adults revealed that most PA was of light intensity, and time spent in moderate-to-vigorous PA was very low. None of the older adults met the World Health Organization recommendations for PA. These levels of MVPA are much lower than generally reported based on self-reported PA. Future studies should employ objective methods, and age specific thresholds for healthy PA levels in older adults are needed. These results emphasize the need for effective strategies for healthy PA levels for the growing proportion of older adults.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0123168
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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