Measuring physical activity in older adults using MotionWatch 8© Actigraphy: how many days are needed?

Evidence suggests sleep and physical activity (PA) are associated with each other and dementia risk. Thus, identifying reliable methods to quantify sleep and PA concurrently in older adults is important.

The MotionWatch 8© (MW8) wrist-worn Actigraph provides reliable estimates of sleep quality via 14 days of measurement; however, the number of days needed to monitor PA by MW8 for reliable estimates is unknown. Thus, the study investigated the number of days of MW8 required to assess PA in older adults. Ninety-five adults aged >55 years wore MW8 for ≥14 days. Spearman-Brown analyses indicated the number of monitoring days needed for an ICC=0.95 was 6-7 days for sedentary activity, 9-10 days for light activity, and 7-8 days for moderate-to-vigorous PA.

These results indicate 14 days of MW8 monitoring provides reliable estimates for both sleep and PA. Thus, MW8 is ideal for future investigations requiring concurrent measures of both sleep quality and PA.