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Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D
Volume 41 Number 5, September/October 2004
Pages 653  — 658


Physical function in sedentary and exercising older veterans
as compared to national norms

Matthew J. Peterson, MS; Gail M. Crowley, BSN, RNC; Robert J. Sullivan, MD, MPH; Miriam C. Morey, PhD

Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Durham, NC; Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center/Center on Aging and Human Development, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC; Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC
Abstract-We examined the associations between sedentary older veterans, those regularly involved in an outpatient exercise program and physical function. Sedentary and currently exercising older veterans performed a 30 s chair-stand test and 6 min walk test as part of an exercise program. Test results were then compared to national norms. The exercisers' test scores were not significantly different from the national averages. However, their mean 6 min walk score approached being significantly better than the national average (p = 0.095). The sedentary group's scores were significantly lower ( 0.05) than the exercisers' scores and the national averages for both tests. In this cohort, older veterans who maintain a regular program of physical activity function at a level considered average or slightly above average compared to their age-matched peers, while sedentary veterans are significantly below average. Healthcare providers need to stress the importance of regular exercise to their older veteran patients.
Key words: aging, exercise, mobility, physical activity, physical function, sedentary, veterans.

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