Does fitness attenuate the relationship between changes in sitting time and health-related quality of life over time in community-dwelling older adults? Evidence from the EXERNET multicenter longitudinal study

Qual Life Res. 2019 Dec;28(12):3259-3266. doi: 10.1007/s11136-019-02252-3. Epub 2019 Aug 1.


Objective: To assess the relationship between fitness levels and components, sitting time and health-related quality of life (HRQoL), over time among community-dwelling older adults.

Methods: Three different sitting trajectories were calculated: (i) no change; (ii) decrease; and (iii) increase in ST, between baseline and follow-up. Fitness was assessed using the aerobic capacity, upper and lower limb strength, and total fitness. Participants were classified into higher (75th percentile or above) or lower (below 75th percentile) fitness levels, using the fitness tests. HRQoL scores at follow-up were compared to the three different sitting time trajectories within and across both the higher and the lower fitness groups for each of the three fitness indexes.

Results: Greater HRQoL scores were observed in those participants that decreased their ST as compared with those increasing their sitting time over time for participants classified in the lower end of their aerobic capacity or total fitness index. No differences were detected in HRQoL scores in people classified in the higher fitness level group for any of the fitness indexes. Participants that increased or did not change their sitting time and who were classified in the higher fitness end of aerobic capacity and total fitness index self-reported higher HRQoL scores when compared with those in the lower fitness end.

Conclusion: Increased sitting time over time is associated with poorer HRQoL in older adults. Higher fitness levels could help attenuate the negative impact of sitting over time.

Keywords: Elderly; Physical condition; Sedentary behavior; Well being.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Self Report
  • Sitting Position*