Analyzing Free-Living Physical Activity of Older Adults in Different Environments Using Body-Worn Activity Monitors

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P. Margaret Grant
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Malcolm H. Granat
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Morag K. Thow
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William M. Maclaren
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This study measured objectively the postural physical activity of 4 groups of older adults (≥65 yr). The participants (N = 70) comprised 3 patient groups—2 from rehabilitation wards (city n = 20, 81.8 ± 6.7 yr; rural n = 10, 79.4 ± 4.7 yr) and the third from a city day hospital (n = 20, 74.7 ± 7.9 yr)—and a healthy group to provide context (n = 20, 73.7 ± 5.5 yr). The participants wore an activity monitor (activPAL) for a week. A restricted maximum-likelihood-estimation analysis of hourly upright time (standing and walking) revealed significant differences between day, hour, and location and the interaction between location and hour (p < .001). Differences in the manner in which groups accumulated upright and sedentary time (sitting and lying) were found, with the ward-based groups sedentary for prolonged periods and upright for short episodes. This information may be used by clinicians to design appropriate rehabilitation interventions and monitor patient progress.

Grant, Granat, and Thow are with the School of Health and Social Care, and Maclaren, the School of Engineering and Computing, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK.

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