The effect of daily ambulatory activity on physical fitness has not yet been identified by quantitatively measuring the time spent on the intensity levels of ambulatory activity in elderly women over 75 with different functional capacity levels. The subjects consisted of 147 elderly women over 75 years old (82.8±4.3 years old) who were all capable of performing basic daily activities by themselves. Physical fitness was measured for 7 items (handgrip strength, knee extensor strength, postural stability, stepping, one-legged standing time with eyes open, 10 m walking, and the Timed Up and Go Test). The subjects wore a triaxial accelerometer for 2 consecutive weeks to measure their daily physical activities. The functional capacity level was assessed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology Index of Competence. The subjects were divided into two groups, a group with a score ≥10 points (high functional capacity group, n=59) and a score <10 points (low functional capacity group, n=88), and the relationship between physical fitness and physical activity was examined in both groups. In both the high and low functional capacity groups, 10 m walking, the Timed Up and Go Test, and one-legged standing time with eyes open significantly correlated with either the total steps/day or the ambulatory activity intensity. In the high functional capacity group, the knee extensor strength also significantly correlated with the total steps/day and moderate ambulatory activity. It is suggested that very elderly women with a reduced functional capacity should maintain their mobility by simply increasing their daily ambulatory activity.
2010 Japan Society of Physiological Anthropology