aging, activity monitor, physical activity, senior women, walking



  1. Shaw, Keiba L. PT, EdD
  2. Page, Catherine PT, PhD


Purpose: The demographic groups at most risk for physical inactivity, as determined by the 1996 Surgeon General's report on Physical Activity and Health, were the elderly women and minorities. To address these risk groups, this pilot study determined whether a physical therapy-based program would result in differences in the scores of the Yale Physical Activity Survey for senior women who participated in a daily walking-for-exercise program using assistive devices, as needed, and those who did not participate.


Methods: Twenty-four volunteer senior adults participating in the Senior Citizens Nutrition and Activity Program were randomly assigned to a control or walking intervention group. Each subject completed a demographic form and the Mini-Mental State Examination to determine cognitive status. Volunteers were interviewed using the Yale Physical Activity Questionnaire for older adults.


Results: Community-dwelling senior women participating in a walking-for-exercise program, exhibited increases in total energy expenditure (P = .046) and vigorous activity levels (P = .026) from baseline to the conclusion of the program. Pre- to posttest changes were also seen in vigorous activity levels in the control group.


Conclusion: Increase in total energy expenditure and vigorous physical activity levels were seen in senior women who engaged in a 8-week walking-for-exercise program with or without physical therapist recommended assistive devices when compared with controls. This has implications for physical therapy and public health policies that should encourage walking as an effective means for promoting increased physical activity to combat the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.