Chulalongkorn Medical Journal


Background : The number of the elderly has been increasing but most of them are not sufficiently active. Thus the information to confirm the importance of sufficient mobility is crucial in order to delay impaired movements and decrease the number of dependent individuals. Objective : To investigate the differences of walking speed and distance, balance control and falls of sufficiently active (exercise and lifestyle active) and the eldery who are not sufficiently active. Setting : Several communities in Khon Kaen province. Research design : A cross-sectional study Subjects : One-hundred and fifty well-functioning elderly, aged 65 - 80 years old. Methods : The subjects were classified into 3 groups which were exercise, lifestyle active and insufficiently active groups (50 subjects/group) by using intensity and duration of performing activities per day, and frequency of doing activity a week. They were evaluated in terms of mobility, which included walking speed, walking distance in 6 minutes; functional balance, and incidences of fall. The differences were analyzed by using ANOVA with the level of significances at p <0.05. Results : Subjects who regularly exercised had significantly better walking speed and dynamic balance control than those who were insufficiently active (p <0.001). The lifestyle of active subjects who walked the longest distance in 6 minutes was significantly different from insufficiently active subjects (p <0.05). The insufficiently active subjects also experienced falls about 2 times more frequent than those who were sufficiently active. Conclusion : The findings suggested the importance of optimal physical activity or exercises delay a number of functional declines associated with mobility in the elderly.



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