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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2010, Article ID 174290, 7 pages
Research Article

Changes in Physical Activity Involvement and Attitude to Physical Activity in a 16-Year Follow-Up Study among the Elderly

1Well-Being Services, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Ruiskatu 8, 20720 Turku, Finland
2Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, P.O.Box 35 (L), 40014 Jyväskylä, Finland

Received 4 January 2010; Revised 30 April 2010; Accepted 15 June 2010

Academic Editor: Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko

Copyright © 2010 Mäkilä Päivi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We studied changes of physical activity among noninstitutionalized 65 years and older persons over a sixteen-year follow-up period. The focus of our interest was on changes in involvement, frequency, intensity, and various modes of physical activity. Furthermore, we studied changes in perceived importance, motives for, and obstacles to participation in physical activity. The results showed that the proportion of those reporting less frequent and intensive activities increased. Men were more active than women over the follow-up time (in 1988 𝑃 = . 0 1 5 , in 1996 𝑃 = . 0 0 7 , in 2004 𝑃 = . 0 0 1 ). The biggest difference at the end of the followup between men and women was found in participation in supervised exercise classes (39% and 14%, resp.). Most popular forms of physical activity were walking and calisthenics at home. Men undertook more modes of physical activity than women. The importance of physical activity declined during the followup in both gender groups but more among women than men. The most common obstacles to physical activity were poor health and lack of interest. The promotion of health maintained it's place as the most important reason for physical activity over the follow-up period.