2012 Volume 1 Issue 1 Pages 167-174
A physically active lifestyle is important across the entire life span. However, little is known about life-long participation in regular exercise among older people. The purpose of the present study was to describe regular exercise throughout a person's lifetime and evaluate the impact of exercise earlier in life on participation in exercise at age 60 and over. The participants were 984 community-dwelling older people aged 60 to 86 years. Each participant's life was divided into five age categories: 12-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-59, and 60 years and over. The association between exercise at an earlier age and that at 60 years and over was assessed using logistic regression analysis adjusted for potential confounders. Men had exercised throughout their lives more than women. Among women, participation in exercise during their 20s and 30s showed a sharp decline. The preference for exercise differed according to age and gender. Among men, the most common patterns of exercise throughout life were exercise during all the age categories, and starting exercise at age 60 and over; whereas in women the most common pattern was no exercise at all. The adjusted odds ratio of exercise at 40-59 years for exercise at age 60 and over was 5.85 (95% confidence interval: 3.82-8.96) among men and 6.89 (4.23-11.23) among women. Regular exercise in the younger age categories affected exercise at age 60 and over among men, but not among women. Regular exercise at 40-59 years was a strong predictor of exercise at 60 years and over in both men and women.