Active older adults less likely to experience psychological distress

In a study examining the relationship between physical activity and physical function, researchers from Australia discovered that older adults who experienced any level of psychological distress were more than four times more likely to experience functional limitation than those who did not. This study is published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Led by Gregory Kolt, PhD, of the University of Western Sydney, School of Science and Health, researchers analyzed data from nearly 100,000 Australian men and women, aged 65 and older, who participated in the 45 and Up Study. Information was sought on self-reported physical activity engagement, physical function, , age, smoking history, education, height, and weight.

Psychological distress scores determined by researchers indicated that 8.4% of all older adult participants were experiencing some level of psychological distress, and older adults who experienced a moderate level of psychological distress were the most likely group to experience a functional limitation—almost seven times more likely than those who did not report psychological distress.

Psychological distress has previously been linked to reduced physical activity and increased functional limitation across a range of age groups. A separate study also indicated that approximately 30% of reductions in physical activity, and increases in psychological distress over time, are due to functional limitations and chronic health problems.

"Our findings can influence the emphasis that we place on older adults to remain active," Kolt notes. "With greater levels of physical activity, more positive health gains can be achieved, and with greater physical function (through ), greater independence can be achieved."

Results also revealed that who were more physically active were less likely to experience functional limitations.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

'Beyond aid' in health care: Is it time for scrutiny?

date 8 hours ago

The UK government's investments in private hospital chains in developing countries, in the form of 'beyond aid' approaches, could actually be hindering inclusive development and need greater scrutiny, argue experts in The BM ...

Cutting health care costs isn't easy

date 9 hours ago

Convincing the nation's most vulnerable citizens to avoid costly emergency department visits is proving harder than expected. A new study from the University of Iowa found improving access to affordable primary ...

Marijuana users substitute alcohol at 21

date 9 hours ago

A recent study looked at marijuana and alcohol use in people between the ages of 18 and 24. It's probably not surprising that the results show a drastic increase in alcohol consumption in people just over ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.