University study publishes findings on physical activity levels and older adults

The study gives insight into the physical activity of older adults


Photo courtesy of Vlad Sargu via Unsplash

Natalia Ribeiro, News Editor

A study done by the university’ Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing found that older adults either declined, improved, or sustained physical activity levels. 

A sample group of African Americans, European Americans, and Afro-Caribbean Americans over the age of 60 were asked if their physical activity levels declined over time or if it was sustained. Participants were also asked if they had made any changes to their physical activity levels throughout the last two to three years if they should be more active than they are and why or why not, and if anything makes it difficult for them to achieve higher activity levels or sustain their activity levels. 

The results were published in the Geriatrics journal and the findings suggest that older adults who understand and value remaining physically active are more likely to make an effort to sustain their activity levels, despite any barriers such as pain. The results also suggested that others need more guidance and assistance on how to maintain activity and identify personal goals through old age. 

Overall, 55% reported being less active compared to the 37% who maintained the same activity levels and the 8% who reported an increase in activity levels. For those who maintained or increased their activity levels, the main reasons were personal goals, sustain health, and pride in remaining active. For those who reported a decline in activity levels, their main reasons were related to health issues, lack of time, interest, or motivation. Pain and fatigue were mentioned as existing physical barriers to those who struggled to sustain physical activity. 

Ruth Tappen, senior author, and nursing professor told the FAU News Desk “Our study highlights the inadequacy of a general ‘exercise is good for you’ message and the importance of having personal, meaningful goals for remaining active and overcoming the physical and emotional barriers noted by our participants.”

The University Press reached out to Tappen for more information but as of Sep 9., no response has been given. 

Researchers suggested that trainers remind older adults of the health benefits of physical activity and acknowledge their efforts. Researchers also suggested that older adults find out their reason for physical activity and their goals. 

Natalia Ribeiro is the News Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories email [email protected] or tweet her @nataliar_99.