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Gerontology. 1995;41(2):109-20.

A life span perspective on patterns of physical activity and functional performance at the age of 76.

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  • 1Department of Geriatric Medicine, University of Göteborg, Sweden.


In a population study, involving 293 women and 233 men, the relation between level of physical activity in earlier life and both physical activity and performance at age 76 has been analysed. The life span was divided into five age periods from the age of 10 and described as competition sport, recreational sport, occupational physical load, household work and means of transportation. The results revealed that when all fields of activity were combined into a total measure of physical activity, created through weighting, the earliest periods alone could not explain activity patterns or performance late in life. After the age of 35 years in men and 50 years in women, however, the associations grew stronger and the activity level of the last life period (66-76) was strongly correlated to all variables incorporated in the study. When, on the other hand, each field of activity was treated alone, above all recreational sport turned out to be positively related to walking speed and physical activity at age 76 in both women and men for most life periods.

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