1998 Volume 1 Issue 1 Pages 1-5
The primary purposes of this study were 1) to confirm age-related deterioration of physical performance in older adults longitudinally, and 2) to predict future functional status and mortality by initial level of physical performances. The subjects were 517 older adults examined both in 1992 and 1996 in the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, Longitudinal Interdisciplinary Study on Aging. The same battery consisting of muscle strength, balance, walking, and manual speed was administered to the subjects in the baseline and follow-up examinations. A significant longitudinal decline was observed in all physical performances except for grip strength. The age-related decline accelerated with aging for preferred walking velocity. Inter-subject variability in walking velocity significantly increased for 4 years period. Maximum walking velocity was a common predictor for functional status and mortality. The results suggest that physical performance measures, especially maximum walking velocity, is a valid means for physical therapy to evaluate physical functioning of community-living older persons.