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Purpose

Reduced functional mobility is a risk factor for falls. The Timed Up and Go test is a complex measurement tool for functional mobility. Our aims were to assess the functional mobility of: (a) community-living elderly who were participating in an exercise programme (n = 40; mean age = 73.7 years), (b) community-living elderly who were physically inactive (n = 40; mean age = 74.1 years), and (c) institutionalized elderly (n = 40; mean age = 73.5 years) and to compare the results with cut-off values for risk of fall.

Materials and methods

After measuring functional mobility, one-way independent ANOVAs and sample t-tests were used for analysis.

Results

The functional mobility of the active participants was better than that of the inactive (p < .001) and institutionalized participants (p < .001). There was no significant difference between the inactive and institutionalized participants (p = .990). The functional mobility of the active participants was better, whereas the functional mobility of the inactive participants was worse than the cut-off value of 13.5 s for risk of fall for community-living elderly. The functional mobility of the institutionalized participants did not differ from the 15-s reference value for predicting risk of fall.

Conclusion

The results indicate that regular physical activity has a positive effect on maintaining functional mobility among both community-living and institutionalized elderly individuals.

Open access