Association between habitual light-intensity physical activity and lower-extremity performance: A cross-sectional study of community-dwelling older Japanese adults




Habitual moderate vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) positively affects lower-extremity performance. It is unclear whether habitual light-intensity physical activity (LPA), such as leisurely walking, has similar effects on lower-extremity performance. The aim of the present study was to identify the associations between habitual LPA and lower-extremity performance in older adults.


This cross-sectional study included 802 community-dwelling Japanese older adults, 187 men and 615 women, aged 60–96 years. A uniaxial accelerometer measured physical activity intensity for over 10 h/day continuously for 7 days. Lower-extremity performance was assessed by repeated chair stands (RCS), single-leg stance (SLS) and Timed Up & Go (TUG). Multiple regression analysis was used to identify whether LPA was associated with lower-extremity performance, independent of potential confounders.


The multiple regression analysis showed that longer LPA was significantly associated with better performance of RCS and TUG. In the results of stratified analyses, LPA was significantly associated with RCS in participants aged ≥75 years and in those with at least one medical condition or joint pain. LPA was also associated with TUG in participants aged ≥75 years, in those with at least one medical condition or joint pain and in those with low MVPA (<13.9 min/day).


These results suggest that habitual LPA is a useful lifestyle indicator of better performance in lower-extremity strength and gait with dynamic balance. Maintaining a higher level of LPA could be a recommended approach for preserving lower-extremity performance, especially among physically frail older adults. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2015; 15: 268–275.