, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 34-38

Physical factors affecting daily walking activities among elderly female residents of a care house

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To understand the physical and other factors related to walking among the elderly residents of a Care House for the aged, the total number of steps walked were measured over a period of 1 week (Nov. 6–12. 1994) for 67 female residents (mean age 79 ± 1 years). In addition, walking speed, stride length, and the time to climb 15 steps (stair-climbing time) were measured. To understand the indirect factors such as balance and agility that may control walking, tests were conducted on the subjects’ ability to stand on one leg with eyes open and closed, and jumping reaction time. Results showed a negative correlation between total number of steps and age (r=-0.543, P< 0.01), jumping reaction time (r=-0.258, p<0.05) and stair-climbing time (r=-0.501, P< 0.01).

However, a positive correlation was found between total number of steps and stride length (r=0.408, P< 0.01), walking speed (r=0.419, P< 0.01), self-rated health (r= 0.390, P< 0.05) and standing on one leg with eyes closed (r=0.258, P< 0.05). The total number of steps walked and physical factors, particularly physique and balance, were also closely related. The above suggests that a walking habit among elderly persons helps to slow the decline in physical strength, which is necessary to prevent falls. It is also reflected in the person’s awareness of health and may increase the opportunities for leading an active daily life.