Physical Activity Levels of Older Community-dwelling Adults Are Influenced by Summer Weather Variables
Applied Physiology, Nutrition & Metabolism
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Adequate daily physical activity (PA) is important for maintaining functional capacity and independence in older adults. However, most older adults in Canada do not engage in enough PA to sustain fitness and functional independence. Environmental influences, such as warmer daytime temperatures, may influence PA participation; however, few studies have examined the effect of summertime temperatures on PA levels in older adults. This investigation measured the influence of summertime weather variables on PA in 48 community-dwelling older adults who were randomly recruited from a local seniors’ community centre. Each participant wore an accelerometer for a single 7-consecutive-day period (between 30 May and 9 August 2006) during waking hours, and completed a PA logbook to remark on major daily PA events. Local weather variables were collected from a national weather service and compared with PA counts per minute. Regression analysis revealed a curvilinear relationship between log-transformed PA and mean daily temperature (r2 = 0.025; p < 0.05). Linear mixed effects models that accounted for repeated measures nested within individuals were performed for monthly periods, meteorological variables, sex, age, and estimated maximal oxygen consumption, with PA as the dependent variable. Age and Air Quality Index remained significant variables within the model. Higher fitness levels had no effect on allowing individuals to perform more vigorous PA in warmer temperatures.