The relationship between physical activity, and physical performance and psycho-cognitive functioning in older adults living in residential aged care facilities

Natalia J.M. Bootsman, Tina L. Skinner, Ravin Lal, Delma Glindemann, Carmela Lagasca, G.M.E.E. Peeters

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Insight into modifiable factors related to falls risk in older adults living in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) is necessary to tailor preventive strategies for this high-risk population. Associations between physical activity (PA), physical performance and psycho-cognitive functioning have been understudied in aged care residents. This study investigated associations between PA, and both physical performance and psycho-cognitive functioning in older adults living in RACFs. Design: Cross-sectional study. Methods: Forty-four residents aged 85. ±. 8. years were recruited from four RACFs located in Southeast Queensland. PA was assessed as the average time spent walking in hours/day using activPAL3™. Physical performance tests included balance, gait speed, dual-task ability, reaction time, coordination, grip strength, and leg strength and power. Psycho-cognitive questionnaires included quality of life, balance confidence, fear of falling and cognitive functioning. Associations between PA and each outcome measure were analysed using linear or ordinal regression models. Results: The average time spent walking was 0.5. ±. 0.4. h/day. Higher levels of PA were significantly associated with better balance (compared with low PA, medium: B = 1.6; high: B = 1.3) and dual-task ability (OR = 7.9 per 0.5. h/day increase). No statistically significant associations were found between PA and the other physical and psycho-cognitive measures. Conclusions: More physically active residents scored higher on balance and dual-task ability, which are key predictors of falls risk. This suggests that physical activity programs targeting balance and dual-task ability could help prevent falls in aged care residents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-178
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Frail elderly
  • Psychological phenomena and processes
  • Psychomotor performance
  • Residential facilities
  • Walking

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