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Physical Fitness in an Aged Population

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Exercise and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2022) | Viewed by 33478

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Department Special Didactics, Faculty of Education and Sport Sciences, University of Vigo, 36005 Pontevedra, Spain
Interests: dementia; physical activity; physical exercise
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Dear Colleagues,

Human aging is a universal and inevitable phenomenon. The average life expectancy has improved in the last century. Currently, about 7% of the world's population is 65 years of age and older. In developed countries, this percentage is even higher (15%) and continues to grow. The aging of the human being is associated with physical and cognitive involution, which generates functional implications, reducing the speed of walking, increasing the risk of falls, and causing a progressive reduction in the ability to carry out the activities of daily life. The WHO, aware of this situation, has been promoting active aging for years through six guidelines:

  1. People should do at least 150–300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, or at least 75–150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity throughout the week
  2. People should also do muscle-strengthening activities at moderate or greater intensity that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these provide additional health benefits.
  3. One may increase moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity to more than 300 minutes, or do more than 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity throughout the week for additional health benefits.
  4. People should limit the amount of time spent being sedentary. Replacing sedentary time with physical activity of any intensity (including light intensity) provides health benefits, and
  5. Physical activity helps to reduce the detrimental effects of high levels of sedentary behavior on health; all adults and older adults should aim to do more than the recommended levels of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity
  6. As part of their weekly physical activity, older adults should do varied multicomponent physical activity that emphasizes functional balance and strength training at moderate or greater intensity, on 3 or more days a week, to enhance functional capacity and to prevent falls. 

This Special Issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH) focuses on the current state of the analysis on the effects generated by different physical exercise proposals on the physical fitness of older adults, as well as on the different tools used in its measurement. New research papers, reviews, case reports, and conference articles are welcome in this Issue. Articles on new approaches to promoting physical exercise in older adults are also welcome. Other types of accepted manuscripts include methodological articles, position articles, short reports, and commentaries.

Prof. Dr. José Mª Cancela Carral
Guest Editor

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • physical fitness
  • exercise therapy
  • neurodegenerative diseases
  • older adults
  • sports
  • physical functional performance
  • gait analysis
  • exercise test
  • workload
  • quality of life

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Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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12 pages, 1232 KiB  
Article
Dynamic Balance and Chest Mobility of Older Adults after Speleotherapy Combined with Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Endurance and Strength Training—A Prospective Study in Chronic Respiratory Diseases
by Sylwia Mętel, Magdalena Kostrzon and Justyna Adamiak
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(18), 11760; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191811760 - 18 Sep 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1945
Abstract
Backgrounds: As people age, they are more likely to experience balance disturbances. Pulmonary rehabilitation is recognized as a core component in the management of older adults with chronic respiratory diseases. The aim of the study was to assess the dynamic balance and chest [...] Read more.
Backgrounds: As people age, they are more likely to experience balance disturbances. Pulmonary rehabilitation is recognized as a core component in the management of older adults with chronic respiratory diseases. The aim of the study was to assess the dynamic balance and chest mobility of older adults participating in speleotherapy combined with pulmonary rehabilitation, endurance and strength training. Methods: The study group consisted of 51 older adults with chronic respiratory disorders who participated in a 3-week pulmonary rehabilitation programme in underground salt chambers in the ‘Wieliczka’ Salt Mine Health Resort. These individuals underwent the Four Square Step Test (FSST) and circumferential chest mobility measurement before and after the outpatient rehabilitation programme conducted 135 m underground. Results: Before rehabilitation in the underground salt chambers, half of the results (50%, 22 patients) were below the norm in the assessment of chest mobility between maximal inhale and exhale. The average time needed to perform FSST decreased significantly (p ≤ 0.05) from 10.2 ± 1.9 s before the stay to 9.1 ± 1.7 s after the stay and the average increase in chest mobility increased significantly (p ≤ 0.05) from 4.5 ± 5.5 cm to 5.4 ± 2.8 cm. Conclusions: Speleotherapy combined with pulmonary rehabilitation, endurance and strength training increased the dynamic balance and chest mobility of older adults with chronic respiratory diseases, as measured by the FSST and circumferential chest expansion assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Fitness in an Aged Population)
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8 pages, 316 KiB  
Article
A Quasi-Experimental Study on the Effect of an Outdoor Physical Activity Program on the Well-Being of Older Chinese People in Hong Kong
by Daniel W. L. Lai, Xiaoting Ou and Jiahui Jin
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(15), 8950; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19158950 - 23 Jul 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2074
Abstract
Active participation in physical activity by older people is effective in improving their health. This research aims to examine the positive effects of participation in vigorous outdoor physical activities by older Chinese people in Hong Kong, and whether such effects would vary with [...] Read more.
Active participation in physical activity by older people is effective in improving their health. This research aims to examine the positive effects of participation in vigorous outdoor physical activities by older Chinese people in Hong Kong, and whether such effects would vary with socioeconomic background. A quasi-experimental, nonequivalent group design was used. A total of 22 participants were randomly assigned to participate in an outdoor physical activity program. Another 14 participants took part as a control group. The 14-item Self-Image of Aging Scale for Chinese Elders and the four-item self-report Subjective Happiness Scale were used to measure participants’ self-image and overall happiness level. All participants completed the assessment before and after the program. Happiness level was enhanced in participants in the experimental group (p = 0.037) and their level of overall mental health also improved (p = 0.031, η2p = 0.129). Demographics did not have any significant effect on well-being outcomes. A structured outdoor physical activity program could be a viable choice for future practice to enhance the mental well-being of older Chinese people. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Fitness in an Aged Population)
10 pages, 356 KiB  
Article
Effects of Cycling Dual-Task on Cognitive and Physical Function in Parkinson’s Disease: A Randomized Double-Blind Pilot Study
by Karina Pitombeira Pereira-Pedro, Iris Machado de Oliveira, Irimia Mollinedo-Cardalda and José M. Cancela-Carral
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 7847; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137847 - 26 Jun 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2611
Abstract
(1) Background: Those with Parkinson’s disease (PD) may present difficulties in performing dual tasks (DT). The use of DT during training can improve different abilities. Therefore, the objective of this study is to verify the influence of a cycling exercise program combined with [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Those with Parkinson’s disease (PD) may present difficulties in performing dual tasks (DT). The use of DT during training can improve different abilities. Therefore, the objective of this study is to verify the influence of a cycling exercise program combined with a cognitive task on cognitive and physical PD aspects; (2) Methods: A double-blind, randomized pilot study was undertaken. Participants performed a DT intervention composed of cycling and a cognitive task. The cycling parameters, MDS-UPDRS, PDQ-39, TUG Test, 30 s Chair Sit to Stand test and Stroop were used to measure outcomes; (3) Results: DT generated impairment in performing the cycling task, with significant differences in cycling parameters, active and passive distance (m), total work (W) and active speed (rpm). At the cognitive level, there was a trend of improvement in the group that performed the training with DT, which improved by 211%; (4) Conclusions: Combining cycling with a cognitive task caused impairment in the performance of the physical task and an improvement at the cognitive level. Therefore, combining cycling with a cognitive task in a presumably safer environment for patients with PD can be a good way to train these patients for the dual-task challenges with practical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Fitness in an Aged Population)
10 pages, 1182 KiB  
Article
Neighborhood Makes or Breaks Active Ageing? Findings from Cross-Sectional Path Analysis
by Daniel R. Y. Gan, Grand H.-L. Cheng, Tze Pin Ng, Xinyi Gwee, Chang Yuan Soh, John Chye Fung and Im Sik Cho
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(6), 3695; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063695 - 20 Mar 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2158
Abstract
Mental ill-health prolongs and complicates other chronic illnesses, which is a major public health concern because of the potential stress it places on health systems. Prevention via active aging and place-based interventions thus became increasingly important with population aging, e.g., through health promotion [...] Read more.
Mental ill-health prolongs and complicates other chronic illnesses, which is a major public health concern because of the potential stress it places on health systems. Prevention via active aging and place-based interventions thus became increasingly important with population aging, e.g., through health promotion and age-friendly neighborhoods. However, how the targeted outcomes of these efforts are related remains unclear. This paper examined whether the relationship between active living and mental health or health-related quality of life is mediated by neighborhood cohesion. Cross-sectional data were drawn from n = 270 community-dwelling adults aged 50 and above in the Gerontology Research Program—Center for Ageing Research in the Environment (GRP-CARE) Survey. Path analysis showed that one can live actively for better mental health (Btotal = 0.24), but it is largely mediated by neighborhood cohesion (37%). Further examination of the factors of neighborhood cohesion showed that this mediation is explained by communal affordance (Bindirect = 0.05) and neighborhood friendship (Bindirect = 0.05). Additional study of the association between these mediators and factors of mental health revealed two psychosocial processes: (1) better community spaces (e.g., greenery and third places) support communal living (B = 0.36) and help older adults obtain emotional support (B = 0.32) for greater autonomy (B = 0.25); (2) spending more time outdoors enhances neighborhood friendship (B = 0.33) and interpersonal skills (B = 0.37), which in turn improves coping (B = 0.39). In short, the effects of active living on health are limited by one’s neighborhood environment. Neighborhood cohesion must be considered or it may stifle individual and policy efforts to age actively and healthily in urban environments. Context-sensitive implementations are required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Fitness in an Aged Population)
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12 pages, 5511 KiB  
Article
Physical Activity Is Associated with Improved Visuomotor Processing in Older Adults with Moderate and Advanced Glaucomatous Visual Field Defect: A Cross-Sectional Study
by Teresa Zwierko, Wojciech Jedziniak, Beata Florkiewicz, Piotr Lesiakowski, Marta Śliwiak, Marta Kirkiewicz and Wojciech Lubiński
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(3), 1760; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031760 - 3 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3259
Abstract
Glaucoma affects a wide spectrum of daily essential activities in older adults. This study examined whether older adults with moderate and advanced stages of glaucoma exhibit differences in visuomotor task performance compared with age- and gender-matched ophthalmologically healthy control subjects and estimated the [...] Read more.
Glaucoma affects a wide spectrum of daily essential activities in older adults. This study examined whether older adults with moderate and advanced stages of glaucoma exhibit differences in visuomotor task performance compared with age- and gender-matched ophthalmologically healthy control subjects and estimated the effects of physical activity (PA) levels, age, and severity of visual impairment on patients’ visuomotor task performance. Sixty older adults with moderate glaucoma, advanced glaucoma, and normal sight participated in the study. Visuomotor processing was assessed using laboratory-based simple and complex visuomotor reaction tasks. Monocular Humphrey Visual Field and binocular Humphrey Esterman Visual Field tests were used to estimate visual field defect severity. The International Physical Activity Questionnaire was used to assess PA levels. Participants with glaucoma had poorer scores in visuomotor tasks compared to participants with normal sight. Glaucoma patients’ PA levels, age, and binocular visual field defect explained 54% of the variation in complex reaction time. Low PA levels were identified as a risk factor for visuomotor processing decline. Compensatory mechanisms to improve the efficiency of visual field scanning in patients with more severe visual field defects may exist. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Fitness in an Aged Population)
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19 pages, 786 KiB  
Article
Older Adults’ Perceptions toward Walking: A Qualitative Study Using a Social-Ecological Model
by Ka-Man Leung, Kai-Ling Ou, Pak-Kwong Chung and Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7686; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147686 - 20 Jul 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 6416
Abstract
Objectives: In this study, we aimed to investigate older adults’ perceptions of their walking experiences, using the social-ecological model as a guiding framework and to propose future walking intervention content. Methods: Thirty-eight participants (19 women; 47% from private elderly centers; mean age = [...] Read more.
Objectives: In this study, we aimed to investigate older adults’ perceptions of their walking experiences, using the social-ecological model as a guiding framework and to propose future walking intervention content. Methods: Thirty-eight participants (19 women; 47% from private elderly centers; mean age = 72.8 (SD = 7.4 years) took part in semi-structured interviews. Qualitative data analysis software QSR-NVivo was used for thematic coding. Results: Thematic deductive analysis revealed pertinent themes at the individual level (health benefits and barriers, fall risk, perseverance, and walking as a suitable activity for older adults), social environment level (social support and social interaction), physical environment level (density, land-use mix, and connectivity; perceived safety, pedestrian facilities (benches, quality of walking paths and sidewalks, and aesthetics), other pedestrian behaviors, and weather, and policy level (lack of walking programs in the community, and supportive culture for an active lifestyle). Discussion: Our findings provide insights for the planning of future multilevel walking intervention programs for older adults in Hong Kong. It is suggested that future walking intervention should include professionals (e.g., physiotherapist or coach) in a group setting, practical walking recommendations such as proper walking posture, and additional fun activities for older adults. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Fitness in an Aged Population)
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10 pages, 803 KiB  
Article
Effects of a Modified Tap Dance Program on Ankle Function and Postural Control in Older Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial
by Qianwen Wang and Yanan Zhao
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6379; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126379 - 12 Jun 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3412
Abstract
Older adults are at a high risk of falling due to age-related degradations in physical fitness. This study aimed to examine the effects of a modified tap dance program (MTD) on ankle function and postural control in older adults. Forty-four healthy older adults [...] Read more.
Older adults are at a high risk of falling due to age-related degradations in physical fitness. This study aimed to examine the effects of a modified tap dance program (MTD) on ankle function and postural control in older adults. Forty-four healthy older adults (mean age = 64.1 years, with 9 men) were recruited from local communities and were randomly divided into the MTD group and the control (CON) group. The MTD group received 12 weeks of MTD training 3 times per week for 30 min per session. Outcomes were measured using the five times sit-to-stand test (FTSST) for ankle strength, the universal goniometer for ankle range of motion, and the Footscan® to trace the center of pressure. Results revealed significant improvements in FTSST in the MTD group (mean difference = 1.01), plantar flexion (left = 9.10, right = 10.0). In addition, the MTD group displayed significantly more improvements at midtest than the CON group in FTSST (mean difference = 1.51) and plantar flexion (mean difference: left = 6.10; right = 4.5). Therefore, the MTD can be an effective exercise program for ankle function improvement, but it has limited effects on improving postural control among healthy older adults. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Fitness in an Aged Population)
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10 pages, 360 KiB  
Article
Benefits of STRENOLD Program on Health-Related Quality of Life in Adults Aged 60 Years or Older. In Common Sport Study
by Irimia Mollinedo-Cardalda, Adriana López Rodríguez, Manuela Ferreira and José María Cancela-Carral
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(6), 3253; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18063253 - 21 Mar 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2278
Abstract
Background: The proportion of older adults is increasing worldwide and, with it, the physical inactivity common to this age group. Therefore, the promotion of active aging is a strategic factor in health policies for older people. The aim of this study was to [...] Read more.
Background: The proportion of older adults is increasing worldwide and, with it, the physical inactivity common to this age group. Therefore, the promotion of active aging is a strategic factor in health policies for older people. The aim of this study was to identify the benefits and viability of the strength training program (STRENOLD) in health-related quality of life in adults over 60. Methods: A controlled experimental study was carried out with a sample of 181 people over 60 years old from different European countries belonging to the European project IN COMMON SPORTS. A pair work strength program was administered (STRENOLD) over a period of 24 months, consisting of two single sessions per week. Their health status was evaluated (EQ-5D-5L) before and after the interventions. Results: The adherence rate was over 89% and the tolerability rate over 100% in all participating countries. Significant improvements in the participants’ health were demonstrated in the areas of mobility, usual activities, pain/discomfort, and anxiety/depression. Conclusions: The regular practice of physical exercise, through the partnered STRENOLD strength program, has benefits on mobility, usual activities, pain/discomfort, and anxiety/depression, in short, health benefits for older adults. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Fitness in an Aged Population)
11 pages, 747 KiB  
Article
Role for Physical Fitness in the Association between Age and Cognitive Function in Older Adults: A Mediation Analysis of the SABE Colombia Study
by Miguel Ángel Pérez-Sousa, Jesús del Pozo-Cruz, Pedro R. Olivares, Carlos A. Cano-Gutiérrez, Mikel Izquierdo and Robinson Ramírez-Vélez
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 751; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020751 - 17 Jan 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3317
Abstract
Objectives. We investigated the association between physical fitness and cognitive status. Further, we examined whether physical fitness mediates the association between cognitive functioning and aging. Design. Cross-sectional study. Setting. Urban and rural Colombian older adults. Methods. 4416 participants from the SABE study were [...] Read more.
Objectives. We investigated the association between physical fitness and cognitive status. Further, we examined whether physical fitness mediates the association between cognitive functioning and aging. Design. Cross-sectional study. Setting. Urban and rural Colombian older adults. Methods. 4416 participants from the SABE study were included in the current analysis. Physical fitness was assessed with the handgrip test and the usual gait speed test. Cognitive status was evaluated through the Folstein Mini-Mental State Examination. A parallel mediation path was used to test the possible mediator role of physical fitness between aging and cognitive functioning. Results. Older adults with lower handgrip strength (HGS) were more likely to have mild-cognitive status than older adults with healthy HGS (OR = 1.53, 95% CI = 1.15; 2.02). In addition, older adults with a slower gait speed were more likely to have mild cognitive impairment (OR = 2.05, 95% CI = 1.54; 2.78). Age had an inverse relationship with cognitive function (β = −0.110, 95% CI = −0.130; −0.100) and it was also inversely associated with HGS (β = −0.003, 95% CI = −0.005; −0.002) and gait speed (β = −0.010, 95% CI = −0.011; −0.009). The indirect effects, which indicate that the effect of age on cognitive function is transmitted through mediators, showed that both gait speed (β = −0.028, 95% CI = −0.036; −0.020) and HGS (β = −0.014, 95% CI = −0.024; −0.005) were independent mediators of the detrimental effect of aging on cognitive function. Conclusions. Physical fitness mediates the effects of aging on cognitive functioning. Our findings suggest that physical activity can be a key factor to prevent cognitive deterioration during aging process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Fitness in an Aged Population)
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Review

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17 pages, 1710 KiB  
Review
Patterns of Sedentary Behavior among Older Adults in Care Facilities: A Scoping Review
by Kin-Chung Wilson Leung, Kim-Wai Raymond Sum and Yi-Jian Yang
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2710; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052710 - 8 Mar 2021
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 4880
Abstract
Understanding the sedentary patterns can guide the design of strategies to engage older adults in physical activity. This scoping review aimed to synthesize available evidence on sedentary behaviors in care facilities. We searched PubMed/MEDLINE and Web of Science for studies published from inception [...] Read more.
Understanding the sedentary patterns can guide the design of strategies to engage older adults in physical activity. This scoping review aimed to synthesize available evidence on sedentary behaviors in care facilities. We searched PubMed/MEDLINE and Web of Science for studies published from inception through October 2020. Eighteen studies were included and reviewed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Data obtained were analyzed based on levels of care provided. Overall, daily sedentary time was higher among residents in high level care facilities (e.g., nursing homes) (11.6 h/day) than intermediate/mixed level care facilities (e.g., assisted living) (9.5 h/day). In intermediate/mixed level care facilities, television (TV) viewing was the most common sedentary activity (2.5–2.9 h/day; 26% of daily sedentary time), while napping was the most favorite sedentary activity (4.7 h/day; 36% of waking hours) in high level care facilities. Sex differences in daily patterns of sedentary behavior (sedentary time, uninterrupted bouts, and bout durations) were commonly observed in intermediate/mixed level care facilities, as exemplified by men being more sedentary by 0.7–1.1 h/day. In summary, this study highlights distinctive sedentary patterns among older adults residing in different levels of care facilities, addressing a pressing need for customized interventions to engage care facility residents in physical activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Fitness in an Aged Population)
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