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P. Margaret Grant, Malcolm H. Granat, Morag K. Thow and William M. Maclaren

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.

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P. Margaret Grant, Philippa M. Dall, Sarah L. Mitchell and Malcolm H. Granat

The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the accuracy of the activPAL physical activity monitor in measuring step number and cadence in older adults. Two pedometers (New-Lifestyles Digi-Walker SW-200 and New-Lifestyles NL-2000) used in clinical practice to count steps were simultaneously evaluated. Observation was the criterion measure. Twenty-one participants (65-87 yr old) recruited from community-based exercise classes walked on a treadmill at 5 speeds (0.67, 0.90, 1.12, 1.33, and 1.56 m/s) and outdoors at 3 self-selected speeds (slow, normal, and fast). The absolute percentage error of the activPAL was <1% for all treadmill and outdoor conditions for measuring steps and cadence. With the exception of the slowest treadmill speed, the NL-2000 error was <2%. The SW-200 was the least accurate device, particularly at slower walking speeds. The activPAL monitor accurately recorded step number and cadence. Combined with its ability to identify primary postures, the activPAL might be a useful and versatile device for measuring activity in older adults.