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Physical Activity and Health Outcomes: A Systematic and Methodological Review

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It is understood that regular physical activity (PA) plays a critical role in improving and maintaining a person’s health and well-being, especially as one grows older. Such benefits include preventing or controlling obesity, arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease including stroke, depression, cognitive disorders, certain cancers, and improving strength, flexibility and function. Regular PA can also stave off premature mortality. Despite these benefits of PA, older adults are becoming less active as they age. This capstone addresses two objectives: 1) to systematically and methodologically review and analyze cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between PA and health outcomes from the older adult general population living in the community or in institutional care aged 50 years and older and 2) to compare the results cross-sectionally and longitudinally. Results indicated that both cross-sectionally and longitudinally there were weak to moderate associations between PA and health outcomes such as emotional well-being, cognitive function, physical function, mortality, depression, chronic disease, quality of life and successful aging. Demonstrating a positive association between PA and health outcomes among older adults could have considerable public health implications in designing interventions to promote participation in PA.
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