Dr Kayode Sotonwa shares with us that several interrelated terms are used to describe physical activity in the literature, including exercise, regular physical activity, specific activities such as walking, and leisure time physical activity. Physical activity is defined as engaging in a body of movements produced by skeletal muscles that result in energy expenditure above the basal level. Leisure time physical activity is defined as participating in physically active hobbies or sports or exercising within a 2- week period.
In terms of specific types of activity, Dr Kayode Sotonwa highlights older adults are more likely to participate in aerobic exercise than in strength training. Walking is the most popular form of aerobic activity among older adults. In fact, one quarter of those age 65 years and older meet current public health recommendations of walking five or more times per week for 30 minutes per time. Data from the 2001 National Health Interview Survey show that 11% of respondents age 65 years and older report engaging in strength training 2 or more days per week. Smaller percentages of those age 75 years and older, females, Blacks, and Hispanics report participating in recommended levels of strength training. Finally, the percentage of older adults who engage in regular physical activity is improving. Based on the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, older adults reporting no leisure time physical activity decreased from 30.5% in 1988 to 25.1% in 2002.