Active older adults have a higher quality of life, study suggests

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge has discovered a correlation between reduced physical activity and lower quality of life in adults over the age of sixty. The study, which involved nearly 1,500 participants, also revealed that an increase in sedentary behavior, such as watching television or reading, was also linked to a decrease in quality of life. These findings emphasize the importance of encouraging older adults to remain physically active.

Using accelerometers to measure activity levels, the researchers evaluated 1,433 individuals aged sixty and above. They also assessed the participants’ health-related quality of life by assigning them a score between 0 (indicating the lowest quality of life) and 1 (representing the highest quality of life) based on their responses to a questionnaire. Lower quality of life scores are associated with a higher risk of hospitalization, poorer outcomes following hospitalization, and premature death.

The study revealed that individuals who engaged in more moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and spent less time being sedentary during their initial assessments reported higher quality of life later on. In fact, every additional hour of physical activity per day was linked to a 0.02 increase in quality of life score.

Interestingly, for every minute decrease in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity measured six years after the initial assessment, quality of life scores dropped by 0.03. This means that an individual who spent 15 minutes less engaging in such activities would have experienced a decline in their score by 0.45.

Similarly, an increase in sedentary behavior was also associated with a decline in quality of life. For every additional minute of sedentary time per day measured six years after the initial assessment, quality of life scores dropped by 0.012. This implies that an individual who spent 15 minutes more sitting down would have seen their score decrease by 0.18.