Background 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.
Material/Methods 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.
Results 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.
Conclusions 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.