Background: An increasing number of older adults require improvements in their quality of life. Physical activities, particularly walking ability, are of primary importance for older adults. The influence of season on physical activity has not been sufficiently studied among older adults. Therefore, this report compared the physical activity and walking of older individuals between summer and winter seasons using a longitudinal study design in a community in a mid-latitude area. Methods: Participants in the study comprised 39 healthy community-dwelling adults ranging in age from 65 to 80 years. Physical parameters and activities as well as the preferred speed of walking were measured at half-year intervals. Results: Significant seasonal differences from summer to winter and from winter to summer were detected. Specifically, body fat percentage, single-leg stance, walking speed, cadence, stride length, and trunk and head-trunk pitch ranges were greater in winter than in summer, whereas grip strength and steps per day were greater in summer. Temperature and total activity level were considered to be related to body fat percentage. Grip strength was thought to be affected by outdoor temperature. The possibility of relationships between increased activity per unit time in older adults and increased preferred walking speed, cadence, and stride length in winter temperatures was discussed. Conclusion: The seasonal climatic environment of the geographic area of this study affected the activity level of the participants. These results indicate that seasonality should be considered when analyzing physical activity and walking in older adults.
Kimura, T., Kobayashi, H., Nakayama, E., & Kakihana, W. (2015). Seasonality in physical activity and walking of healthy older adults. Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 34(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40101-015-0071-5