2017, Volume 9, Issue 2
Frequently endorsed cognitive and physical activities among community-dwelling older adults
Valdiva G. da Silva1, Tangeria R. Adams1, Joshua Fogel2, Mindy J. Katz3, Krystal E. Mendez1, Laura Rabin1
1Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center of The City University of New York, Brooklyn, NY
2Department of Business Management, Brooklyn College of The City University of New York, Brooklyn, NY
3Department of Neurology and the Einstein Aging Study, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY
Author for correspondence: Laura Rabin; Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center of The City University of New York, Brooklyn, NY; email: lrabin[at]brooklyn.cuny.edu
Despite the established benefits of cognitive and physical activity, a paucity of research
examines the specific activities older adults favor, particularly those meeting the nationally
recommended minimum duration of > 30 minutes per session.
260 non-demented, community-dwelling participants aged 70 and above self-reported the
duration of their participation in 26 cognitive and physical activities during a typical week.
Overall activity engagement was investigated by sex and educational level.
The most endorsed physical activities were walking, stretching/yoga and gardening, while
the most endorsed cognitive activities were reading magazines/newspapers, reading
books, and doing crosswords. Walking (p = .048), swimming (p = .008), reading magazines/
newspapers (p=.011), writing (p=.001), and attending lectures (p = .007) were more
common among those with > 12 years of education, while reading books (p = .039) and
sewing/knitting (p = .040) were more common among those with ≤ 12 years of education.
Doing crossword puzzles (p = .003), sewing/knitting (p = .001), and dancing (p = .015)
were more common among females, while weight training (p = .009) and fishing (p = .003)
were more common among males.
Overall, results revealed several statistically significant activity engagement differences
by sex and education. Findings are discussed in relation to enhancing older adults’
participation in activities that may improve their overall functioning.
Key words: leisure activity, physical activity, cognitive activity, older adults