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J Health Psychol. 2010 Jul;15(5):688-96. doi: 10.1177/1359105310368184.

Do or decline?: comparing the effects of physical inactivity on biopsychosocial components of successful aging.

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  • 1School of Kinesiology & Health Science, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Research has shown that physical activity (PA) is associated with overall successful aging (SA), but it is unknown whether PA promotes each SA component in similar ways. This cross-sectional population-based cohort study investigates SA in adults aged 60 years+ using data from the Canadian Community Health Survey ( N = 12,042). Multivariate comparisons showed that, compared to those who were PA, physical inactivity was a much stronger associate of functional limitations than either chronic disease or being socially unengaged with life. This effect was not found for moderately active participants. Findings reinforce that PA, even at moderate levels, is an efficient way of optimizing biopsychosocial health, particularly functional health, in later life.

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