Changes in Scottish older adults physical activity: “…although I walked before the crisis I have made a habit of walking every morning”.
Presenting Author: Ilaria Pina
Other authors: Hunter, A., Tomaz, S.A., Ryde, G., Coffee, P., Connelly, J., Kirkland, A., McCabe, L., Watchman, K., Andreis, F., Neely, K.C., Swales, B., Martin, J.G., Whittaker, A.C. On behalf of the SPARKLE Group.
Abstract: In older adults, physical activity (PA) can improve overall quality of life. However, opportunities to engage in PA may have been impacted by Covid-19.
Aim: This study investigated PA levels and changes in a sample of Scottish older adults, pre- and during lockdown.
Methods: Pre-lockdown data were obtained from a cross-sectional study (n=150) conducted between November 2019 and March 2020. 24-Hour movement behaviour data were collected using accelerometers and participants provided PA logs. Mid-lockdown data were obtained between May and July 2020 from n=70 participants using an online survey exploring PA changes due to lockdown.
Findings: Before lockdown, n=29 (41% of n=70) individuals met PA guidelines (150min/week of moderate- to vigorous PA). Pre-lockdown weekly moderate- to vigorous intensity PA was 219.5±140.7min/week; weekly total PA (light- to vigorous intensity) was 1943.3±414.6min/week. Fewer participants (n=17, 24%) met the strength component of PA guidelines (engagement twice/week); n=15 (21%) individuals met both.
During lockdown, n=21 (30%) reported no change in walking, n=17 (24%) reported less and n=32 (46%) individuals reported walking more. In terms of moderate PA, n=32 (46%) reported no change, n=20 (29%) and n=18 (26%) reported less and more moderate PA, respectively. N=42 (60%) reported no change in strength training, n=17 (24%) reported doing less and n=11 (16%) individuals reported doing more.
There were no significant differences in pre-lockdown MVPA between participants who reported more/less or no change in moderate PA (p=0.615) or walking (p=0.691). However, significant differences were found for pre-lockdown total PA and reported changes in moderate PA, with individuals reporting no change in moderate PA being the most active pre-lockdown (p=0.001). Similarly, people reporting no change in walking had significantly higher levels of total PA pre-lockdown (p=0.027).
Conclusion: In this sample, there appears to be a relationship between pre-lockdown PA and PA changes due to lockdown. This may be of significance in the context of trying to get older adults maintain or increase PA (where appropriate) as we emerge from this pandemic, given our understanding of the benefits of PA in this age group. Additionally, irrespective of pre-lockdown PA, older adults should continue to be encouraged to be active.