How often and how far do frail elderly people need to go outdoors to maintain functional capacity?

Arch Gerontol Geriatr. Mar-Apr 2010;50(2):140-6. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2009.02.015. Epub 2009 Apr 7.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the frequency of going outdoors into the life-space and functional impairment in community-living frail elderly people. Participants were 1872 community-dwelling elderly people (65-100 years). The participants were asked activities of daily living (ADL) status and how far they traveled and how often they traveled to that area in the 4 weeks before the assessment. We selected two demographic variables, five physiological variables, 11 primary diseases or geriatric syndromes, and four psychosocial variables as possible confounding factors of ADL limitations and correlates of going outdoors. After adjusting for the confounders, multiple logistic regression showed that limitations in basic ADL and instrumental ADL were most strongly associated with going outside the home less than once a week and with going into the neighborhood less than once a week, respectively. Low self-efficacy for going outdoors related most strongly to restrictions in these outdoor activities. These results suggest that going outdoors into the neighborhood at least once a week is beneficial for maintaining physical function in frail elderly people.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Mass Index
  • Community Networks*
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Psychology
  • Self Efficacy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires