The focus of aging research has switched from mortality and longevity to health status and quality of life. Researchers say, "No longer is it only important that one lives longer, but the quality of life in later years must also be considered."
A new study shows more benefits of staying physically active in your later years. The research finds women who have an active lifestyle are able to perform their daily activities easier later in life.
Resaerchers from the University of Pittsburgh conducted a study to look at how physical activity affects quality of life over a long time.
The study included 229 white, postmenopausal women with an average age of 74 years old. The women were assessed from 1985 to 1999. Researchers looked at the physical activity level of each woman in 1985, 1995 and 1999. Not only were women asked about their physical activity, but they also wore a pedometer and activity monitor. In 1999, the women also answered questions about activities of daily living including eating, dressing, bathing and mobility.
Researchers report the physical activity level in 1985 of a woman was predictive of their walking speed in 1999. They also found the consistency of physical activity during the 14-year study was related to their ability to do everyday activities. Specifically, researchers report about 38 percent of the women who were always active had problems with daily activities. However those numbers increased to 40 percent of women who were inconsistent with their activity and 59 percent of women who were inactive had problems with daily activities.
Thus researchers conclude the findings of this study show the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle. Researchers point out that with people living longer, it is important to prevent the loss of ability to do regular activities.