Elderly people who worry about their health are less likely to engage in physical activity, and report having difficulty in walking, says a new study.
Lead researcher Kin-Kit Li of The University of Hong Kong Health along with colleagues from OSU suggests that worry, physical inactivity, and walking difficulty may actually combine to have a negative effect on each other.
"Our research shows that a key component to avoid walking difficulty in older adults is to resolve health worry issues earlier in life," said coauthor Bradley Cardinal, a professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at OSU.
Health worry may be considered a protective mechanism, which motivates people to engage in health behaviours such as regular physical activity. However, this study showed the opposite in elderly.
Health professionals often use warnings of diseases and premature death to promote physical activity.
However, the authors suggest that health-related information should include appropriate self-regulation and coping strategies for health worry.
The research appears in Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport.