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Physical activity in a sample of elderly greek people: a research study

The beneficial role of exercise in elderly people has been documented by numerous of studies and is associated with an improved quality of life and increased longevity. Aim: The aim of the present study was to assess the physical activity of elderly people in an urban area of Greek territory. Material and Methods: The sample consisted of 426 elderly people who came from KAPI (Open Care Centers for Elderly) in Attica. Participants were men and women, aged of 65 years old and over. For the assessment of physical activity in elderly people there was conducted a seasonal record (summer / winter) of hours engaging in the following activities per week: standing, walking, cycling, sports of any kind, gardening, household tasks and home repairs. Statistical analysis was performed by the package SPSS 12.0. Results: A large percentage of men (58.6%) and even more women (62.3%) did not exercise regularly. Only 38.9% of men and 31.5% of women used to walk more than 1 hour a day, while 6.6% of men and 2.5% of women regularly used a bicycle for their transport. Additionally, 76.0% of women engaged in household tasks for more than 1 hour a day, while the corresponding figure for men was only 7.8%. Furthermore, 25.7% of men and 21.0% of women were occupied with gardening and home repairs for more than 1 hour a day. Conclusions: The present study showed that the participants had limited physical activity in general and minimal systematic exercise. The systematic exercise is rare in both, men and women, in people over 65 years old. Additionally, some level of physical activity was provided by necessary daily activities, such as household tasks for women and gardening and home repairs for both sexes. Taking into consideration the importance of physical activity in health promotion, the present issue should be one of the most important priorities in public health.

Author(s): Babatsikou Fotoula

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