Older adults who remain physically active experience less psychological distress and fewer functional limitations. Gregory S. Kolt, from the University of Western Sydney (Australia), and colleagues studied data collected on 91,375 Australian men and women, ages 65 years and older, enrolled in The 45 and Up Study.

Information was sought on self-reported physical activity engagement, physical function, psychological distress, age, smoking history, education, height, and weight. Psychological distress scores determined by researchers indicated that 8.4 percent of all older adult participants were experiencing some level of psychological distress, and older adults who experienced a moderate level of psychological distress were the most likely group to experience a functional limitation — almost seven times more likely than those who did not report psychological distress. Observing that: “Higher levels of physical activity were associated with better physical function in older adults,” the study authors conclude that: “There is a significant, positive relationship between physical activity and physical function in older adults, with older adults who are more physically active being less likely to experience functional limitation than their more-sedentary counterparts. Level of engagement in physical activity is an important predictor of physical function in older adults.”


  1. Lisa C. Yorston, Gregory S. Kolt, Richard R. Rosenkranz. “Physical Activity and Physical Function in Older Adults: The 45 and Up Study.” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 5 April 2012.