Differences between completely physically inactive and low active older men and their response to an exercise intervention: the Veterans LIFE study

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Abstract

Background:

Physical activity interventions typically do not report behavioral changes in activity sub-groups. The aim of this study was to compare baseline differences and changes in physical activity between truly physically inactive men and low active men enrolled in a twelve-month, home-based physical activity intervention.

Methods:

Veterans with a mean age of 77.6 years were randomized to either a physical activity intervention or usual care. Measures included self-reported physical activity, physical function, and physical performance.

Results:

At baseline, the physically inactive group reported more symptoms and poorer functioning than the low active group. At 12 months, physically inactive men randomized to the intervention group increased their physical activity to an average of 73.3 minutes per week. Physically inactive individuals randomized to the control group were eight times more likely to remain inactive compared to the low active group.

Conclusions:

Completely physically inactive older men can markedly increase physical activity levels with a long-term intervention. Without such intervention, the likelihood of this group remaining inactive is eightfold.

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