BackgroundThe prevailing Western ideal of ageing in place, with the option to stay at home as one ages, has led to the development of physical activity guidelines for people of advanced age to increase their quality of life and promote their functional abilities. This study investigates the effect of self-reported health and physical activity on mortality and examines how levels of age-specific physical activity affect self-reported health trajectories in an ageing cohort.
MethodsThe sample cohort of the population-based Tromsø Study consists of 24,309 participants aged 25–97 years at baseline. This study involved a survival analysis from 1994 to 2015 and included those who completed two or more surveys (n = 12,241) between 1994 and 2008. The purpose was to examine the relationship between physical activity and self-reported health throughout life using a random coefficient model analysis.
ResultsBeing sedentary was associated with an increased risk of mortality in the ageing cohort. Subjects who reported neither light physical activity nor hard physical activity had a 57% (OR 1.57, 1.07–2.31) increased risk of all-cause death. Both hard (OR 2.77, 2.35–3.26) and light (OR 1.52, 1.32–1.76) physical activity were positively associated with self-reported health. The effect was age dependent. Vigorous physical activity was most beneficial for individuals younger than 40 years old, while moderate physical activity levels prolonged the period in which good self-reported health was likely.
ConclusionsPoor self-reported health and being sedentary were independently associated with an increased risk of mortality in the participants. Furthermore, physical activity prolonged the period of good self-reported health among older adults in two ways: physical activity habits from early adulthood and onwards were beneficial to self-reported health at an advanced age, and self-reported health was dependent on engagement in moderate intensity physical activity after approximately 65 years of age.
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