Chulalongkorn Medical Journal


Background : The number of the elderly has been increasing but most of them arenot sufficiently active. Thus the information to confirm the importanceof sufficient mobility is crucial in order to delay impaired movementsand decrease the number of dependent individuals.Objective : To investigate the differences of walking speed and distance, balancecontrol and falls of sufficiently active (exercise and lifestyle active) andthe eldery who are not sufficiently active.Setting : Several communities in Khon Kaen province.Research design : A cross-sectional studySubjects : 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) byusing intensity and duration of performing activities per day, andfrequency of doing activity a week. They were evaluated in terms ofmobility, which included walking speed, walking distance in 6 minutes;functional balance, and incidences of fall. The differences wereanalyzed by using ANOVA with the level of significances at p <0.05.Results : Subjects who regularly exercised had significantly better walkingspeed and dynamic balance control than those who were insufficientlyactive (p <0.001). The lifestyle of active subjects who walkedthe longest distance in 6 minutes was significantly different frominsufficiently active subjects (p <0.05). The insufficiently active subjectsalso experienced falls about 2 times more frequent than those whowere sufficiently active.Conclusion : The findings suggested the importance of optimal physical activity orexercises delay a number of functional declines associated withmobility in the elderly.


Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University

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