Indexed on: 06 Mar '10Published on: 06 Mar '10Published in: Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Among the elderly, smoking is related to death and it contributes to disability associated with chronic diseases. This study aims to verify the influence of a history of smoking on the physical capacity of elderly people, and its relationship with the gender. Elderly people beginning to practice physical activity reported questions about their smoking history and underwent a physical evaluation, consisted by hemodynamic data (blood pressure, heart rate and maximum oxygen consumption), body mass index (BMI), muscular strength, flexibility and balance. Mann-Whitney test and Spearman's test was used to data analysis. The sample consisted of 127 subjects, among whom 26.8% were ex-smokers. There were a higher number of nonsmoking women (p<0.001) than others, and women smoked fewer packets per day (p=0.047). Among the women, those ex-smokers were younger and more flexible in comparison with those nonsmokers (p<0.05). Among the men, the ex-smokers were older and walked more slowly than nonsmokers (p<0.05). There was a correlation between the BMI and duration of smoking time. Smoking cessation benefits the elderly, since the physical variables showed no long-term harm associated with the history of smoking when compared with those of elderly without this habit.