Document Type


Date of Original Version



Purpose: The age-related decline in physical function is ameliorated by physical activity; however, less is known about changes in physical function in active vs. inactive older women. The purpose of this study was to determine the longitudinal associations between physical activity and physical function in community-dwelling older women.

Methods: 238 participants (age 79.0 ± 5.1) were dichotomized into two activity groups [inactive (IG); n = 144 or active (AG); n = 94] based on self-reported exercise at baseline. Repeated measures ANCOVA, controlling for age, measured differences in physical function between activity groups at baseline and 48-months using the Timed Up and Go, 30-s chair stand, and 30-second arm curl. Differences in Timed Up and Go classification [normal (≤ 8.23 s); preclinical limitations/limited physical function (>8.23 s)] were analyzed using chi-square tests for activity group and for activity-age group (AG, <80 years; AG, ≥ 80 years; IG, <80 years; IG, ≥ 80 years).

Results: The repeated measures ANCOVA yielded a significant main effect for activity group for the Timed Up and Go (p = 0.006), 30-s chair stand (p = 0.002) and 30 s arm curl (p = 0.007) and a significant time main effect for the Timed Up and Go (p = 0.016). There were no significant group by time interactions. A larger proportion of the IG than the AG (58.2 vs. 86.5%, respectively) had Timed Up and Go scores >8.23 s (p < 0.001). At 48-months, individuals in the AG were more likely to have normal Timed Up and Go scores compared to those in the IG in both age groups [χ2(3, N=236) = 42.56, p < 0.001].

Conclusion: Older women who engaged in regular exercise at baseline had higher levels of objectively measured physical function and were less likely to have abnormal Timed Up and Go scores. These findings help illustrate the long-term benefit of exercise on physical function in older women.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Frontiers in Sports and Active Living



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.