Light and moderate physical activity can improve their ability to perform better and live healthier. The official guidelines suggest older adults to spend at least 2.5 hours every week doing moderate activity (such as brisk walking), or at least 1.25 hours per week doing vigorous exercise (such as jogging or running).
Unfortunately, many older adults are not physically able to perform either moderate or vigorous intensity exercise. Scientists created a study to learn more about how much exercise older adults are able to perform, and how that exercise affects their health.
The research team studied 6,489 female participants aged 63 to 99 years old. The participants agreed to take in-home exams, answer health questionnaires, and wear accelerometers (devices similar to fitness trackers). The participants also kept sleep logs.
At the beginning of the study, most participants were in their late 70s and most were considered overweight according to BMI standards (a ratio comparing height to weight). Nearly 30 percent were considered obese.
Most participants scored 8.2 out of a possible 12 points on physical function assessments. Based on accelerometer measurements of the participants:
- 1 percent performed "low" light-intensity physical activity
- 29 percent performed "high" light-intensity physical activity
- 15 percent performed moderate to vigorous physical activity
The research team concluded that their findings support encouraging older women to increase the amount of time they spend every day in light-intensity activity, and reduce the amount of time spent sitting.