Within-Person Dynamics of Older Adults’ Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and Sit-to-Stand Transitions

in Journal for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour
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  • 1 University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • 2 Pennsylvania State University
  • 3 Northwestern University
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This study evaluated how older adults’ daily physical activity covaries with naturally occurring variation in both the duration and patterning of daily sedentary behavior. Older adults (n = 95) wore activPAL3 monitors for 15 consecutive days. Multilevel modeling regressed daily step counts on the frequency of sit-to-stand transitions and the duration of sedentary behavior. At the person-level, older adults who sat less (b = −14.31, p < .001) and stood up more frequently (b = 41.08, p = .01) took more steps on average. At the within-person level, older adults took more steps on days when they sat less than usual (b = −8.29, p < .001) and stood up more frequently than usual (b = 52.75, p < .001). Older adults’ daily physical activity may be influenced by interrupting sedentary behavior more frequently as well as reducing total sedentary behavior. It may be easier to monitor the frequency of discrete behaviors, like standing up, than it is to monitor the duration of continuous behaviors (e.g., walking, sitting).

Maher is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, University of North Carolina Greensboro, Greensboro, NC. Conroy is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA; and the Dept. of Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL.

Maher (jpmaher@uncg.edu) is corresponding author.
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