Are Fitness, Activity, and Fatness Associated With Health-related Quality of Life and Mood in Older Persons?

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Abstract

PURPOSE

This study sought to determine whether levels of fitness, habitual physical activity, and fatness are associated health-related quality of life and mood in older persons.

METHODS

The subjects were men (n = 38) and women (n = 44), ages 55 to 75 years, who had milder forms of hypertension, but who were otherwise healthy and not engaged in a regular exercise or diet program. Aerobic fitness was assessed by maximal oxygen uptake during treadmill testing, muscle strength by a one-repetition maximum, habitual activity by questionnaire, fatness by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, and body mass index. Health-related quality of life was assessed by the Medical Outcomes Study SF-36, and mood by the Profile of Mood States (POMS). Correlations were determined by bivariate and multivariate regression.

RESULTS

Higher aerobic fitness was associated with more desirable outcomes, as indicated by the POMS anger and total mood disturbance scores and by the SF-36 bodily pain, physical functioning, vitality, and physical component scores. Increased fatness was associated with less desirable outcomes, as indicated by the POMS anger, depression, and total mood disturbance scores and by the SF-36 bodily pain, physical functioning, role-emotional, role-physical, social functioning, vitality, and physical component scores. Higher physical activity was associated with an increased POMS score for vigor and a decreased SF-36 score for bodily pain. Strength was not related to health-related quality of life or mood. Aerobic fitness was the strongest predictor of the SF-36 score for vitality and the POMS score for total mood disturbance, whereas fatness was the strongest predictor of the POMS anger score and the SF-36 bodily pain, physical functioning, and physical component scores.

CONCLUSIONS

Even in the absence of regular exercise and a weight-loss diet, relatively small amounts of routine physical activity within a normal lifestyle, slight increases in fitness, and less body fatness are associated with a better health-related quality of life and mood.

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