Research Study Abstract

Levels and Patterns of Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior in Elderly Individuals With Mild to Moderate Parkinson Disease

  • Published on Feb. 5, 2015

Background: Decreased movement ability is one of the hallmarks of Parkinson´s disease (PD). This may lead to inadequate physical activity (PA) and excessive time in sedentary behaviors – two factors associated with an elevated risk for lifestyle-related diseases, poorer PD-management and premature death. In order to identify the extent to which individuals with PD are physically active, a comprehensive characterization of PA in this population is needed.

Objective: To describe levels and patterns of PA and sedentary behaviors in elderly individuals with PD.

Design: Cross-sectional study in free-living setting, including 53 men and 42 women (mean age 73.4 years) with mild to moderate idiopathic PD.

Methods: PA and sedentary time was assessed for one week with ActiGraph GT3X+ accelerometers.

Results: Mean daily step counts were 4,765 whereas 589 min were spent in sedentary behaviors, 141 min in low intensity activities, 30 min in moderate intensity lifestyle activities, and 16 min in moderate-to vigorous intensity ambulatory activities. No differences were found between week-and weekend days. Patterns were characterized by a rise in total PA in the morning, peaking between 10 AM – 3 PM, and a gradual decline towards the late evening. The proportion achieving 150 minutes of moderate-to vigorous intensity PA per week was 27%, whereas 16% achieved ≥ 7,000 steps per day.

Limitations: Non-randomized selection of participants may limit generalizability of the results.

Conclusions: PA levels were generally low, both in terms of total volume and intensity, with only minor variations over the course of a day or between days. These results emphasize the need to develop strategies that will increase PA and reduce sedentary time in elderly individuals with mild to moderate PD.


  • Martin Benka Wallén
  • Erika Franzén
  • Håkan Nero
  • Maria Hagströmer


  • Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Division of Physiotherapy, Karolinska Institutet, Alfred Nobels Alle 23, 141 83 Huddinge, Sweden.


Journal of the American Physical Therapy Association


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