Summary: Researchers have found a relationship between physical activity in adults over the age of sixty and quality of life. The study, with nearly 1,500 participants, revealed that reduced exercise and sedentary behavior lead to lower quality of life.
This research emphasizes the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle in adulthood. Regular moderate to vigorous physical activity can reduce the risk of many health complications and can improve overall health.
- Participants who were more physically active and spent less time in sedentary activities at baseline had a higher quality of life in later years.
- A decrease in physical activity and an increase in sedentary behavior over a six-year period were associated with poorer quality of life scores.
- Studies have shown a causal link between remaining exercise and improved quality of life, with exercise contributing to reduced pain, improved muscle strength, and better mental health.
source: University of Cambridge
A decrease in the amount of time spent physically when adults are over the age of sixty is associated with a lower quality of life, a Cambridge study of nearly 1,500 adults has shown.
The same is true for an increase in the amount of sedentary time, such as watching TV or reading. Researchers say this highlights the need to encourage older people to be active.
Physical activity – especially when it is of moderate intensity and increases the heart rate – is known to reduce the risk of several diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.
The NHS recommends that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week.
The elderly are also advised to break up long periods of sitting with light activity when physically possible, or at least with standing, as this has distinct health benefits for the elderly.
A team led by researchers at the University of Cambridge examined activity levels among 1,433 participants aged 60 and over using accelerometers. Participants were recruited into the EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer)-Norfolk study.
Along with this, the team also looked at health-related quality of life, a measure of health and well-being that includes pain, self-care ability and anxiety/mood. Participants received a score between 0 (worst quality of life) and 1 (best) based on their answers to the questionnaire.
Lower quality of life scores are associated with increased risk of hospitalization, worse outcomes after hospitalization, and early death.
Participants were followed up on average just under six years later to see changes in their behavior and quality of life.
The results of the study were published in Health and quality of life results.
On average, six years after their first assessment, both men and women performed less moderate physical activity by up to 24 minutes per day.
Meanwhile, total sedentary time increased by an average of 33 minutes per day for men and 38 minutes per day for women.
Those individuals who did moderate to vigorous physical activity and spent less time at their first assessment had a higher quality of life later. 1 hour per day more active is associated with 0.02 higher quality of life scores.
For every minute less per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity measured six years after the first assessment, the quality of life score decreased by 0.03. This means that a person who spends 15 minutes less a day on such activities will see their score drop by 0.45.
Increased sedentary behavior was also associated with poorer quality of life – a 0.012-point decrease for every day increase in total sedentary time six years after the first measurement.
This means that individuals who spend 15 minutes a day more sitting down will see their score drop by 0.18.
To put the results into a clinical context, a 0.1 point improvement in the previous quality of life score was associated with a 6.9% reduction in early death and 4.2% in the risk of hospitalization.
Dr Dharani Yerrakalva from Cambridge University’s Department of Health and Primary Care said: “Keeping yourself active and limiting – and where you can, rest – the amount of time you spend sitting down is really important at every stage of your life.
“This seems to be especially important later in life, when it can lead to potentially significant improvements in your quality of life and your physical and mental health.”
Because the team measured physical activity and sedentary behavior at all times, they say they can be reasonably confident that they have shown a causal link—that is, a better quality of life. Because For example, people are still more physically active.
Dr. Yerrakalva added: “There are many ways that improving our physical behavior can help maintain a better quality of life.
“For example, more physical activity reduces pain in common conditions like arthritis, and we know that more exercise improves muscle strength which helps older people continue to take care of themselves.
“Similarly, depression and anxiety are linked to quality of life, and can be improved by being more and less active.”
The EPIC-Norfolk study is funded by the Medical Research Council and Cancer Research UK.
Five ways to keep yourself strong in old age
- A quick daily walk – ideally about 20 minutes
- ride a bike
About the elderly and this exercise research news
Author: Craig Brierley
source: University of Cambridge
contact: Craig Brierley – University of Cambridge
Image: Image is credited to Neuroscience News
Original research: Open access.
“Association between changes in physical activity and sedentary time and health-related quality of life in British adults: the EPIC-Norfolk cohort study” by Dharani Yerrakalva et al. Health and quality of life results
Association between changes in physical activity and sedentary time and health-related quality of life in British adults: the EPIC-Norfolk cohort study
No previous study has examined the relationship between objectively measured physical behavior change and QoL follow-up in adults. Based on cross-sectional evidence, it is biologically plausible that such an association exists. . If so, this would strengthen the case for implementing activity interventions and including QoL as an outcome in such intervention trials.
We evaluated physical behavior (total physical activity, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), light physical activity, total sedentary time and prolonged sedentary time) for 7 days using hip-worn accelerometers at baseline (2006-2011) and follow-up (2012-2016) and health-related quality of life (QoL) using the EQ-5D questionnaire at follow-up in 1433 participants (≥ 60 years) of EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer) – Norfolk study. An EQ-5D summary score was used, with 0 being the lowest and 1 being the best perceived quality of life. We evaluated prospective associations of baseline physical behaviors with QoL follow-up, and behavioral changes with QoL follow-up using multilevel regression.
On average, MVPA decreased 4.0 min/day/year (SD 8.3) for men and 4.0 min/day/year (SD 12.0) for women between baseline and follow-up. Total sedentary time increased by an average of 5.5 minutes/day/year (SD 16.0) for men and 6.4 minutes/day/year (SD 15.0) for women between baseline and follow-up. The mean (SD) follow-up time was 5.8 (1.8) years.
We found that higher baseline MVPA and lower sedentary time were associated with higher subsequent QoL (ie, baseline MVPA greater than 1 h/day was associated with higher EQ-5D scores 0.02, 95% CI 0.06, 0.36). A more pronounced decrease in activity was associated with worse Hr-QoL (0.005 (95% CI 0.003, 0.008) EQ-5D per minute/day/year decrease in MVPA). Increased sedentary behavior was also associated with poorer QoL (0.002 lower EQ-5D, 95% CI -0.003, -0.0007 per hour/day/year increase in total sedentary time).
Promoting physical activity and limiting sitting time in the elderly may improve quality of life, and therefore this relationship should be included in future cost-effectiveness analyzes to allow more activity interventions to be considered.
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