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Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2017 Jul;71:28-33. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2017.02.012. Epub 2017 Feb 22.

Physical activity levels of community-dwelling older adults are influenced by winter weather variables.

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Healthy Exercise and Aging Laboratory Group, School of Health and Exercise Sciences, Faculty of Health and Social Development, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Kelowna, BC, Canada. Electronic address:
Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Western University, London, ON, Canada.
Centre for Studies in Family Medicine, Western University, London, ON, Canada.


Winter weather conditions may negatively influence participation of older adults in daily physical activity (PA).


Assess the influence of winter meteorological variables, day-time peak ambient temperature, windchill, humidity, and snow accumulation on the ground to accelerometer measured PA values in older adults.


50 community-dwelling older adults (77.4±4.7yrs; range 71-89; 12 females) living in Southwestern Ontario (Latitude 42.9°N Longitude 81.2° W) Canada, wore a waist-borne accelerometer during active waking hours (12h) for 7 consecutive days between February and April 2007. Hourly temperature, windchill, humidity, and snowfall accumulation were obtained from meteorological records and time locked to hourly accelerometer PA values.


Regression analysis revealed significant relationships between time of day, ambient daytime high temperature and a humidity for participation in PA. Windchill temperature added no additional influence over PA acclamation already influenced by ambient day-time temperature and the observed variability in PA patterns relative to snow accumulation over the study period was too great to warrant its inclusion in the model. Most PA was completed in the morning hours and increased as the winter month's transitioned to spring (February through April).


An equation was developed to adjust for winter weather conditions using temperature, humidity and time of day.


Accurate PA assessment during the winter months must account for the ambient daytime high temperatures, humidity, and time of day. These older adults were more physically active during the morning hours and became more active as the winter season transitioned to spring.


Humidity; Older adults; Physical activity; Temperature; Winter weather

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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