Accelerometer determined physical activity in older women: A descriptive study
Older adults are the fastest growing age group of the population in the US, yet they are the least physically active group compared to the others. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Heart Association, all recommend that older adults should spend at least 30 minutes, five days per week doing moderate-intensity physical activity or 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity on at least three days per week to maintain good functional fitness. With respect to the amount (steps) of daily physical activity, there are few recommendations. A general consensus suggests that to remain healthy and maintain functional fitness, older adults should attain between 6,000 and 8,500 steps per day. One hundred and seven women aged 60 – 80 years old (73.23 ± 7.73 yrs) were asked to wear an accelerometer during all waking hours for two weeks. Daily physical activity was monitored for 2 weeks, variables analyzed were steps and intensity of physical movement ranging from low to high intensity. Evaluating the descriptive statistics of this study and comparing them to the suggested adult of physical activity levels (Sedentary = 2000-4999, Low Active = 5000-7499, Somewhat Active= 7500-9,999, Active = 10,000 - 12,999, and Highly Active = 13,000 or more), no age group was Active. Even when evaluating the mean of participant’s one high day, the two most active age-groups (60s and 70s) were only considered Somewhat Active at approximately 8,200 daily steps. This 8,200 daily step rate does meet the older adult recommendations suggested by more recent research. With respect to the recommendation about the intensity level of physical, no group met this goal. The highest 5-day average was achieved by the 70-year old group at just over 16 minutes, followed by the 60-year olds at just over 14 minutes. The 80 year old group engaged in the least amount of moderate intensity activity with their highest average at just over 13 minutes once per week.