Objective indicators of physical activity and sedentary time and associations with subjective well-being in adults aged 70 and over

Janet Withall*, Afroditi Stathi, Mark Davis, Jo Coulson, Janice L. Thompson, Kenneth R. Fox

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


This study explored the associations of the volume and intensity of physical activity and the volume of sedentary time with subjective well-being in a diverse group of 228 older adults in the UK (111 female, mean age 78.2 years (SD 5.8)). Physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviour were assessed by accelerometry deriving mean steps per day, mean moderate/vigorous PA minutes per hour (MVPA minh(-1)) and minutes of sedentary time per hour (ST minh(-1)). Lower limb function was assessed by the Short Physical Performance Battery. Subjective well-being was assessed using the SF-12 health status scale, the Ageing Well Profile and the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Linear regressions were used to investigate associations between the independent variables which included physical activity (steps and MVPA), sedentary time, participant characteristics (gender, age, BMI, education, number of medical conditions), and lower limb function and dependent variables which included mental and physical well-being. Steps, MVPA and lower limb function were independently and moderately positively associated with perceived physical well-being but relationships with mental well-being variables were weak. No significant associations between sedentary behaviours and well-being were observed. The association between objectively evaluated physical activity and function and subjective evaluations of physical well-being suggest that improving perceptions of physical health and function may provide an important target for physical activity programmes. This in turn may drive further activity participation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-656
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • well-being
  • physical activity
  • sedentary time
  • lower limb function
  • accelerometer
  • life satisfaction
  • LIFE


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