Exercise and the onset of disability in later life

J Aging Health. 2010 Sep;22(6):734-47. doi: 10.1177/0898264310374753. Epub 2010 Jun 25.


Objective: This study was to examine whether overall physical activity levels, and different types of earlier sporting activities, are associated with the onset of locomotor disability in early older age.

Method: A longitudinal analysis of a general population cohort of British men and women born in the early 1930s was conducted.

Results: Measures of overall activity levels at age 58 did not show a relationship with locomotor disability 5-6 years later. Swimming was the only sporting activity to show any strong evidence of a protective association with later locomotor disability.

Discussion: The promotion of swimming in adulthood could play a role in the prevention of locomotor disability and aid people's ability to follow active living health promotion guidelines in late mid-life and early old-age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Disabled Persons / statistics & numerical data*
  • Exercise* / physiology
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Swimming / physiology