Determinants of physical activity engagement in older adults

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of behavioral medicine




Amyloid and exercise; Dementia and physical activity; Physical activity determinants


In order to increase engagement in physical activity, it is important to determine which factors contribute to physical activity engagement in older adults. The current study examined the relative predictive ability of several potential determinants, in terms of both the concurrent level as well as longitudinal trajectories. Clinically normal adults aged 61-92 completed the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (n = 189 for cross-sectional models; n = 214 for longitudinal models). Potential determinants included age, gender, education, physical health, sensory health, mood, cardiovascular health, cognitive status, and biomarkers of Alzheimer disease (AD). We observed a novel finding that both concurrent physical health (p < 0.001) and change in physical health (p < 0.001) were significant predictors above and beyond other determinants. Concurrent mood predicted levels of physical activity (p = 0.035), particularly in females. These findings suggest that poor physical health and low mood might be important to consider as potential barriers to physical activity engagement in older adults.


Clinical Research and Leadership