Reduced movement ability is one of the hallmarks of Parkinson’s disease (PD). This may result in inadequate physical activity (PA) and excessive time in sedentary behaviors – two factors related to a higher 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. This study aimed to describe levels and patterns of PA and sedentary behaviors in elderly individuals with PD. PA and sedentary time was assessed for one week with ActiGraph GT3X+ accelerometers. 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 observed between week-and weekend days. Patterns were characterized by an increase 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.
The study found PA levels to be 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 decrease sedentary time in elderly individuals with mild to moderate PD.