Moderate-Vigorous Physical Activity in Older People in Northern Ireland: Levels, Demographic Patterns and Types of Moderate-Vigorous Physical Activity Undertaken

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Authors: Appleton, K.M., McGill, R., Neville, C. and Woodside, J.V.

Journal: Ageing International

Pages: 1-11

eISSN: 1936-606X

ISSN: 0163-5158

DOI: 10.1007/s12126-012-9142-7

Work on the health benefits of physical activity currently recommends participation in 2.5 h of moderate-vigorous physical activity/week, and advocates consideration of the physical activity gained from activities of daily living in this total. Using the inclusion of activities of daily living, this analysis aimed to investigate the physical activity undertaken by a representative sample of older people living in Northern Ireland (NI). Using a telephone questionnaire, 426 individuals (representative of the NI older population) reported participating in a mean 4.1 ± 6.3 h of moderate-vigorous physical activity/week, but 225 (53 %) of these individuals reported participation in less than 2.5 h of moderate-vigorous activity/week, and 126 of these individuals reported none. Regression analyses revealed greater participation by males, younger individuals and those living in less deprived areas (smallest B = -0.11, p = 0.03). Males were also found to participate in more Do-It-Yourself, cycling, heavy gardening and exercise/sport in summer and less heavy housework, than females (smallest B = -0.03, p = 0.05), but no differences were found dependent on age or deprivation of residential area. These findings suggest a need to increase participation in moderate-vigorous physical activity in this population, with specific emphasis on females, older individuals and those living in more deprived areas. Analysis of the types of moderate-vigorous physical activity undertaken suggests that females may benefit particularly from increased opportunity or promotion of exercise/sport as a leisure activity. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

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