Accelerometer Assessment of Physical Activity in Active, Healthy Older Adults

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Jennifer L. Copeland
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Dale W. Esliger
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Despite widespread use of accelerometers to objectively monitor physical activity among adults and youth, little attention has been given to older populations. The purpose of this study was to define an accelerometer-count cut point for a group of older adults and to then assess the group’s physical activity for 7 days. Participants (N = 38, age 69.7 ± 3.5 yr) completed a laboratory-based calibration with an Actigraph 7164 accelerometer. The cut point defining moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was 1,041 counts/min. On average, participants obtained 68 min of MVPA per day, although more than 65% of this occurred as sporadic activity. Longer bouts of activity occurred in the morning (6 a.m. to 12 p.m.) more frequently than other times of the day. Almost 14 hr/day were spent in light-intensity activity. This study demonstrates the rich information that accelerometers provide about older adult activity patterns—information that might further our understanding of the relationship between physical activity and healthy aging.

Copeland is with the Dept. of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, AB, Canada, T1K 3M4. Esliger is with the School of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, and the College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan.

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