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Age Ageing. 2000 Sep;29(5):433-9.

Low-intensity physical activity benefits blood lipids and lipoproteins in older adults living at home.

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  • 1School of Allied Health, University of Connecticut, Storrs 06269-2101, USA.



to examine the influence of low-intensity, habitual physical activity on blood lipids and lipoproteins and other cardiovascular risk factors in older adults living at home.


cross-sectional observational study.


a convenience sample of healthy, older adults (n = 155) who were mainly non-Hispanic, white (96.8%), female (65.2%) and on medications for cardiometabolic-related disorders (60.6%) and had an average age of 74.2 +/- 0.5 years.


we used a question from the Yale Physical Activity Survey to assess the typical number of hours per day spent in motion during the past month, collapsing responses into <5 and > or = 5 h/day. We determined blood lipids, lipoproteins and glucose with Kodak Ektachem serum oxidase assays or finger stick using the Cholestech LDX system enzymatic technique, and measured blood pressure by auscultation. Waist circumference was the indicator of abdominal fat distribution and body mass index the measure of overall adiposity.


after adjusting for age, sex, adiposity, postprandial state, medication use and method of blood sampling, greater amounts of daily accumulated movement were associated with more favourable blood lipid-lipoprotein profiles. Subjects reporting > or = 5 h of daily movement had higher levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol [mean difference (95% confidence interval): 0.23 mmol/l (0.07, 0.39); P = 0.002] and a lower ratio of total to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol [average difference: -0.92 (-1.36, -0.48); P = 0.003]. They had lower levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol [mean difference: -0.39 mmol/l (-0.80, 0.03); P = 0.074)] and a lower ratio of triglyceride to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol [mean difference: -1.31 (-2.50, -0.12); P = 0.059]. Total cholesterol was similar in the two groups (P > 0.05). The mean blood glucose was 1.49 mmol/l lower (-2.67, -0.31) in the more active group (P = 0.02), independent of age, sex, adiposity, medication use and postprandial state.


low-intensity, habitual physical activity is a sufficient stimulus to enhance blood lipids/lipoproteins and glucose in older adults, independent of abdominal and overall adiposity.

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