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Background: This study investigated the association of frequency of going out with physical activity, low back pain, and loneliness among urban Japanese community-dwelling older adults affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

Methods: This cross-sectional study recruited older adults aged 65 and over residing in apartment buildings in an urban area of Japan as participants. The questionnaire comprised items on participants' frequency of going out, musculoskeletal pain, physical activity, mobility, loneliness, and sociodemographic characteristics. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to explore the associations of decreased frequency of going out (less than once a week) during the pandemic with musculoskeletal pain, physical activity, and loneliness after controlling for age, sex, living alone, comorbidity, and social activity as confounding factors.

Results: This study analyzed 236 older adults (mean age: 75.5 years; females 54.2%) whowent out more than two to three days a week before the pandemic. Participants who went out less than once a week during the pandemic (14%) had more arthritis than those who went out more. They also had a higher prevalence of reduced physical activity, low back pain, gait disability, and loneliness. Additionally, decreased frequency of going out was associated with lower physical activity [adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 3.91, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.78-8.61], low back pain (OR = 2.79, 95% CI: 1.08-7.24), and loneliness (OR = 1.50, 95% CI: 1.14-1.98).

Conclusions: This study indicated that reduced physical activity, loneliness, and low back pain are associated with a decreased frequency of going out during the pandemic among older adults.