European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 100, Issue 5, pp 581–589 | Cite as

Physical activity patterns assessed by accelerometry in older people

Original Article

Abstract

Research into daily physical activity (PA) patterns of older adults (≥70 years) has primarily relied on self-report. This study used accelerometry, an objective measure of minute-by-minute movement, to assess PA volume and intensity performed by older adults recruited to the Better Ageing project. Results were used to estimate the degree to which current health recommendations for PA were met. Participants [91 older females (OF) aged 76.0 ± 4.0 years (mean ± SD), 70 older males (OM) 76.3 ± 3.9 years, 23 young females (YF) 26.8 ± 4.1 years and 22 young males (YM) 27.0 ± 4.2 years] wore an MTI actigraph model 7164 recording activity in 1-min epochs for 7 days. Only those with at least 5 days, and 10 h of actigraph data per day, were included in the analysis, using Caloric.Bas (CSA Inc. 1999) software and a tailored Microsoft Access 2000 macro. Mean counts min-1 day-1 were 37% lower for older adults than for young adults [OF 236.1 ± 84.4 vs. YF 370.0 ± 81.1 counts min-1 day-1t(114) = −6.86, P < 0.001; OM 255.1 ± 103.0 vs. YM 404.3 ± 134.0 ct min-1 day-1, t(91) = −5.55, P < 0.001]. Older adults were more restricted in activity intensity range performing significantly fewer minutes of moderate to vigorous (MV) PA day-1 than young adults [OF 16.7 ± 12.2 vs. YF 38.4 ± 18.4 MVPA min day-1, t(114) = −6.90, P < 0.001; OM 23.8 ± 20.0 vs. YM 40.4 ± 19.2 MVPA min day-1, t(91) = −3.47, P = 0.001]. Nearly half of older adults did not perform any sustained 10-min MVPA bouts (OF 48.4% vs. YF 13.0%, χ= 8.10, P = 0.004; OM 44.3% vs. YM 4.5%, χ2 = 9.97, P = 0.002), and none met current PA recommendations for health. This study is the first to provide objective data on a large sample of adults aged 70 years and over and indicates low levels of daily movement that are likely to be inadequate for optimal health benefit.

References

  1. Bonnefoy M, Normand S, Pachiaudi C, Lacour JR, Laville M, Kostka T (2001) Simultaneous validation of ten physical activity questionnaires in older men: a doubly labelled water study. J Am Geriatr Soc 49:28–35PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Buchowski MS, Acra S, Majchrzak KM, Sun M, Chen KY (2004) Patterns of physical activity in free-living adults in the Southern United States. Eur J Clin Nutr 58:828–837PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (1996) Physical activity and health: a report of the surgeon general. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  4. Cooper AR, Page A, Fox KR, Misson J (2000) Physical activity patterns in normal, overweight and obese individuals using minute-by-minute accelerometry. Eur J Clin Nutr 54:887–894PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cooper AR, Andersen LB, Wedderkopp N, Page AS, Froberg K (2005) Physical activity levels of children who walk, cycle, or are driven to school. Am J Prev Med 29:179–184PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Craig CL, Marshall AL, Sjostrom M, Bauman AE, Booth ML, Ainsworth BE, Pratt M, Ekelund U, Yngve A, Sallis JF, Oja P (2003) International physical activity questionnaire: 12-country reliability and validity. Med Sci Sports Exerc 35:1381–1395PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Davies MJ, Dalsky GP (1997) Economy of mobility in older adults. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 26:69–72PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Department of Health and Ageing (1999) National physical activity guidelines for Australians. Australian Government, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  9. Department of Health. Physical Activity. Health Improvement and Prevention (2004) At least five a week. Department of Health, LondonGoogle Scholar
  10. DiPietro L, Caspersen CJ, Ostfeld AM, Nadel ER (1993) A survey for assessing physical activity among older adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc 25:628–642PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. European Union Road Federation (2006) European road statistics 2006. European Union Road Federation, Brussels, pp 33–38Google Scholar
  12. Freedson PS, Melanson E, Sirard J (1998) Calibration of the Computer Science and Applications Inc. accelerometer. Med Sci Sports Exerc 30:777–781PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hamilton MT, Hamilton DG, Zderic TW (2004) Exercise physiology versus inactivity physiology: an essential concept for understanding lipoprotein lipase regulation. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 32:161–166PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Harada ND, Chiu V, King AC, Stewart AL (2001) An evaluation of three self-report physical activity instruments for older adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc 33:962–970PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Health Canada. Health Promotion Online (2003) Physical activity guide. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hppb/paguide/activity_enough.html
  16. Jago R, Anderson CB, Baranowski T, Watson K (2005) Adolescent patterns of physical activity: differences by gender, day, and time of day. Am J Prev Med 28:447–452PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Marmot M, Banks J, Blundell R, Lessof C, Nazroo J (2003) Health, wealth and lifestyles of the older population in England: the 2002 English longitudinal study of ageing. Institute for Fiscal Studies, LondonGoogle Scholar
  18. McGibbon CA, Krebs DE (2001) Age-related changes in lower trunk coordination and energy transfer during gait. J Neurophysiol 85:1923–1931PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Meijer EP, Goris AHC, Wouters L, Westerterp KR (2001) Physical inactivity as a determinant of the physical activity level in the elderly. Int J Obes 25:935–939CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. National Statistics Office (2004) Health survey for England 2003: risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Department of Health, London, pp 9–337Google Scholar
  21. Pate RR, Pfeiffer KA, Trost SG, Ziegler P, Dowda M (2004) Physical activity among children attending preschools. Pediatrics 114:1258–1263PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Riddoch CJ, Andersen LB, Wedderkopp N, Harro M, Klasson-Heggebo L, Sardinha LB, Cooper AR, Ekelund U (2004) Physical activity levels and patterns of 9- and 15-yr-old European children. Med Sci Sports Exerc 36:86–92PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rikli RE (2000) Reliability, validity, and methodological issues in assessing physical activity in older adults. [comment]. Res Q Exerc Sport 71(2 Suppl):S89–96PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Rutten A, Abu-Omar K (2004) Prevalence of physical activity in the European Union. Soz Praventivmed 49:281–289PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Sjostrom M, Yngve A, Ekelund U, Poortvliet E, Hurtig-Wennlof A, Nilsson A, Hagstromer M, Nylund K, Faskunger J (2002) Physical activity in groups of Swedish adults: are the recommendations feasible? Scand J Nutr/Naringsforskning 46:123–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Vinzio S, Ruellan A, Perrin AE, Schlienger JL, Goichot B (2003) Actigraphic assessment of the circadian rest-activity rhythm in elderly patients hospitalized in an acute care unit. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 57:53–58PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Voorrips LE, Ravelli ACJ, Dongelmans PCA, Deurenberg P, Van Staveren WA (1991) A physical activity questionnaire for the elderly. Med Sci Sports Exerc 23:974–979PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Washburn RA (2000) Assessment of physical activity in older adults. Res Q Exerc Sport 71(2 Suppl):S79–88PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Washburn RA, Ficker JL (1999) Physical activity scale for the elderly (PASE): the relationship with activity measured by a portable accelerometer. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 39:336–340PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. World Health Organization (2003) Diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases. WHO Technical Report Series 916. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  31. Yoshioka M, Ayabe M, Yahiro T, Higuchi H, Higaki Y, St-Amand J, Miyazaki H, Yoshitake Y, Shindo M, Tanaka H (2005) Long-period accelerometer monitoring shows the role of physical activity in overweight and obesity. Int J Obes 29:502–508Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Exercise, Nutrition, and Health Sciences, School of Applied and Community Health, Centre for Sport, Exercise & HealthUniversity of BristolBristolUK

Personalised recommendations