Physical Activity in Adulthood Ups Midlife Performance

Physical activity across adulthood has cumulative benefits on physical performance in midlife

MONDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Physical activity across adulthood has cumulative benefits on physical performance in midlife, according to a study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Rachel Cooper, Ph.D., from University College London, and colleagues assessed the correlation between leisure-time physical activity across adulthood and physical performance and strength in midlife, and also analyzed whether there are cumulative benefits of physical activity. Self-reported data were collected for approximately 2,400 men and women from the U.K. Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development. The associations between physical activity levels during leisure time and grip strength, standing balance, and chair rise times were examined in the cohort that was followed up from birth, in March 1946, and at ages 36, 43, and 53 years. The participants were assessed at age 53 years (in 1999) by nurses and examined in 2010.

The investigators found independent positive effects of physical activity on chair rise performance at all three ages, and on standing balance performance at ages 43 and 53 years, even after adjusting for covariates. When using structured life course models, there was evidence of cumulative effects supporting these results. No correlation was found between physical activity and grip strength in women; however, in men, there was a positive correlation between physical activity at age 53 years and grip strength.

"There are cumulative benefits of physical activity across adulthood on physical performance in midlife. Increased activity should be promoted early in adulthood to ensure the maintenance of physical performance in later life," the authors write.

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