Quality of Life Research

, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 1213–1223 | Cite as

Health-related quality of life in relation to walking habits and fitness: a population-based study of 75-year-olds




To assess health-related quality of life (HRQL) in relation to walking habits and fitness status in older persons. A second aim was to examine fitness status as a mediator in the relation between walking habits and HRQL.


A cross-sectional population-based sample of 75-year-olds from Gothenburg, Sweden, was examined (n = 698, response rate 61 %). Walking habits were assessed as weekly frequency and duration. HRQL was assessed with the Short Form-36 (SF-36) and fitness with maximal and self-selected gait speed, chair-stand, stair-climbing capacity, grip strength and one-leg stance.


The proportion of 75-year-olds who attained recommended levels of moderate physical activity (≥ 150 min/week), described as walking, was 60 %. This was positively associated with most subscales of SF-36 and with all fitness tests except grip strength. Maximal gait speed was the fitness test with the highest correlations to all SF-36 subscales. Fitness, described with maximal gait speed, was a partial mediator in most relations between walking habits and SF-36. After adjustment for confounders, associations between regular walking and SF-36 were no longer significant, except for Role Physical, General Health and Role Emotional in women.


Attaining recommended levels of walking, as well as a high fitness status, is positively associated with several aspects of HRQL in older persons. Fitness, described with maximal gait speed, seems to have a partial role in the relation between walking habits and HRQL, suggesting that other mechanisms are also involved.


Aged Physical activity Quality of life Physical function Gait speed Mediator 



Body Mass Index


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders


Health-related quality of life


Odds Ratio


Quality of Life


Short Form-36


World Health Organization


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helena Hörder
    • 1
  • Ingmar Skoog
    • 1
  • Kerstin Frändin
    • 1
  1. 1.GothenburgSweden

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