Research Paper Volume 12, Issue 9 pp 7704—7716

Physical activity and successful aging among middle-aged and older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies

Yi-Hsuan Lin1,2,3, , Yi-Chun Chen1,2, , Yen-Chiang Tseng4,5, , Shih-tzu Tsai1, , Yen-Han Tseng6,7, ,

  • 1 Department of Family Medicine, Cheng Hsin General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 2 Department of Family Medicine, School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 3 Department of Public Health, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 4 Division of Thoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
  • 5 Institute of Clinical Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 6 School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 7 Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Shuang Ho Hospital, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan

Received: October 3, 2019       Accepted: March 29, 2020       Published: April 29, 2020
How to Cite

Copyright © 2020 Lin et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Background: We aimed to investigate the association between physical activity and successful aging among middle-aged and older adults and study how this association changes with age and time.

Results: The mean score of Newcastle-Ottawa Scale assessment was 8.0±0.8. Physically active middle-aged and older adults were more likely to age successfully than sedentary adults (OR=1.64, 95%CI: 1.40–1.94). The effect of physical activity was stronger in the younger group (OR=1.71, 95%CI: 1.41–2.08) than on the older group (OR=1.54, 95%CI: 1.13–2.08). However, the protective effect of physical activity reduced annually by approximately 3%.

Conclusions: Physical activity promotes successful aging among middle-aged and older adults especially in the younger population. Being physically active at middle and old age is beneficial to successful aging.

Methods: We searched for the relevant studies in three online databases: Pubmed, Web of Science, and Embase. Fifteen community-based cohort studies were included. The Newcastle-Ottawa Scale assessment Form was used for quality assessment. Overall, 189,192 participants aged 43.9-79.0 years were analyzed. The odds ratio for successful aging of the most physically active group compared with sedentary group was analyzed. Subgroup analysis was conducted by age group. Univariate Meta-regression was performed according to follow-up years.


CI: confidence interval; OR: odds ratio; RCTs: randomized control trails; WHO: World Health Organization.