Early signs of mobility decline and physical activity counseling as a preventive intervention in older people

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesisResearch

Minna Regina Mänty

The purpose of this study was to examine the early signs of mobility decline and falls in older people. In addition, the effects of physical activity counseling on the development of mobility limitation in an older community-dwelling population were studied.

Data from two larger studies were used: Screening and Counseling for Physical activity and Mobility among Older People, SCAMOB, a 2-year single-blinded randomized controlled trial (n=632) with a 1.5-year post-intervention follow-up, focused on 75 to 81-year-old community-dwelling people and the FITSA study, a 3-year prospective observational study, on 63 to 75-year-old community-dwelling women (n=434). Data on mobility limitation, physical activity and health status were obtained in face-to-face interviews or with questionnaires. Muscle power and walking speed were measured during the research centre examinations and falls were followed-up for 1 year with daily fall calendars.

Self-reported preclinical mobility limitation and fall history increased the risk of manifest mobility limitation and future falls. A single individualized physical activity counseling session with a supportive phone contact every 4 months for 2 years had a positive effect on perceived mobility. However, the effects on muscle power and walking speed were significant only among women with no or only early signs of mobility limitation. No effects were observed among men or among women with more advanced mobility limitation at baseline.

The results of the present study indicate that self-reported preclinical mobility limitation and fall history should be considered as important early indicators of functional decline among community-dwelling older adults. In addition, the results suggest that physical activity counseling for older adults may provide an effective means to promote mobility, which is a crucial prerequisite for maintaining independence in the community in old age.

Keywords: Aging, mobility limitation, falls, risk assessment, physical activity, promotion, older people
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationJyväskylä
PublisherUniversity of Jyväskylä
ISBN (Print)978-951-39-3874-1
Publication statusPublished - 2010
SeriesStudies in Sport, Physical Education and Health

ID: 32130722