Health, balance, and walking as correlates of climbing steps

J Aging Phys Act. 2008 Jan;16(1):42-52. doi: 10.1123/japa.16.1.42.


The aim of this study was to investigate walking and health among woman age 75 yr or older, in the associations between the highest step up performed without support by an individual and balance, walking, and health among women age 75+. Records of the highest step, balance, walking, and health were made for 307 women age 75-93 yr living in the community. Eighty percent managed to climb steps higher than 20 cm. There was a statistically significant negative relationship between age and stair-climbing capacity. The highest steps registered were significantly and independently associated with a short time on the timed up-and-go test, long functional reach, low body weight, lack of perceived difficulty walking outdoors, low number of "missteps" when walking in a figure of 8, longer time in one-leg stance, ability to carry out tandem stance, no walking aids outdoors, and not being afraid of falling. These variables together explained 67% of the variance in the step-height score.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology
  • Walking / physiology*