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Background The natural ambulatory activity patterns of older adults are not well understood. User-worn monitors illuminate patterns of ambulatory activity and generate data suitable for analysis using measures derived from nonlinear dynamics.

MethodsAmbulatory activity data were collected continuously from 157 community-dwelling older adults for 2 weeks. Participants were separated post hoc into groups based on the mean number of steps per day: highly active (steps ≥ 10,000), moderately active (5,000 ≤ steps < 10,000 steps), and inactive (steps

Results All groups displayed patterns of fluctuating step count values containing complex temporal structure. DFA, ER, and ApEn parameter values increased monotonically and significantly with increasing activity level (p < .001). The variability of step count fluctuations did not differ among groups.

Conclusions Highly active participants had more complex patterns of ambulatory activity than less active participants. The results supported the idea that, in addition to the volume of activity produced by an individual, patterns of ambulatory activity contain unique information that shows promise for offering insights into walking behavior associated with healthy aging.


This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A following peer review. The version of record Cavanaugh JT, Kochi N, Stergiou N. (2010). Nonlinear Analysis of Ambulatory Activity Patterns in Community-Dwelling Older Adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 65(2):197-203. is available online at:

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The Journals of Gerontology: Series A





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