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

Physician/Pharmacist model can improve mean BP

date 18 hours ago

(HealthDay)—A physician/pharmacist collaborative model can improve mean blood pressure (BP), according to a study published online March 24 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Innovative prototype presented for post-ICU patients

date 18 hours ago

(HealthDay)—A collaborative care model, the Critical Care Recovery Center (CCRC), represents an innovative prototype aimed to improve the quality of life of intensive care unit (ICU) survivors, according ...

Clues to a city's health may be found in its sewage

date 21 hours ago

Research from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee suggests that sampling a city's sewage can tell scientists a great deal about its residents – and may someday lead to improvements in public health.

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.