Diurnal Patterns of Physical Activity in Relation to Activity Induced Energy Expenditure in 52 to 83 Years-Old Adults

Giulio Valenti*, Alberto G. Bonomi, Klaas R. Westerterp

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background Ageing is associated with a declining physical activity level (PAL) and changes in the diurnal activity pattern. Changes in the activity pattern might help explaining the age-associated reduction of physical activity. Objective The aims were to investigate diurnal activity patterns within groups of older adults classified by PAL, to investigate diurnal activity patterns within age-groups and to investigate the association between the drop in activity and aerobic fitness. Methods Thirty-one healthy subjects aged between 52 and 83y were recruited for the study. Subjects were divided in sedentary (PAL<1.75), moderately active (1.75<PAL<1.90), and active (1.90<PAL) older adults with energy expenditure measurements obtained with the doubly labelled water technique. Diurnal activity patterns were based on activity counts from an accelerometer during wake time and then divided in four quarters of equal time length. Additionally, aerobic fitness was measured as maximal oxygen uptake. Results Subjects had a PAL between 1.43 and 2.34 and an aerobic fitness between 18 and 49 ml/kg/min. Overall, activity patterns showed a peak in the first quarter of wake time (around 10AM) followed by a gradual decline of, on average, 5% per hour. Active subjects reached their peak in the first quarter and remained active until after the third quarter (11% drop each quarter on average). Moderately active and sedentary subjects reached their peak during the second quarter with a decrease during the third quarter (respectively 29% and 17% drop each quarter on average). The drop in physical activity between the first and the second half of the wake time was negatively associated with aerobic fitness (r = -0.39, p<0.05). Conclusion Active older adults maintained a larger amount of body movement for longer during their wake time. Diurnal physical activity declined more in adults >= 66 years old with lower aerobic fitness.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0167824
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2016

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