Measuring Physical Activity in Older Adults With and Without Early Stage Alzheimer's Disease

Amber S. Watts, Eric D. Vidoni, Natalia Loskutova, David K Johnson, Jeffrey M. Burns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We compared subjective reports of physical activity with objective measures of physical fitness including cardiorespiratory capacity, body composition, and physical performance in 146 older adults with and without early stage Alzheimer's disease (ESAD). Respondents reported primarily unstructured and low-intensity activities, including walking and housework. Individuals with ESAD participated in fewer and lower intensity physical activities than those without ESAD. In those without ESAD, housework was related to lower body mass index, leisure walking was related to faster speed on a timed walking test, and participation in sports was related to higher peak oxygen intake. In individuals with ESAD, reported physical activities did not predict any of the physical fitness, body composition, or physical performance measures. We conclude that measures of physical activity require expansion of unstructured and low-intensity activities to improve sensitivity in sedentary populations, especially in older adults with ESAD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-374
Number of pages19
JournalClinical Gerontologist
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • measurement sensitivity
  • older adults
  • physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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