Instrumented assessment of test battery for physical capability using an accelerometer: A feasibility study

A. Godfrey, J. Lara, C. A. Munro, C. Wiuff, S. A. Chowdhury, S. Del Din, A. Hickey, J. C. Mathers, L. Rochester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Recent work has identified subdomains (tests) of physical capability that are recommended for assessment of the healthy ageing phenotype (HAP). These include: postural control, locomotion, endurance, repeated sit-to-stand-to-sit and TUG. Current assessment methods lack sensitivity and are error prone due to their lack of consistency and heterogeneity of reported outcomes; instrumentation with body worn monitors provides a method to address these potential weaknesses. This work proposes the use of a single tri-axial accelerometer-based device with appropriate algorithms (referred to here as a body worn monitor, BWM) for the purposes of instrumented testing during physicality capability assessment. In this pilot study we present 14 BWM-based outcomes across the subdomains which include magnitude, frequency and spatio-temporal characteristics. Where possible, we compared BWM outcomes with manually recorded values and found no significant differences between locomotion and TUG tasks (p ≥ 0.319). Significant differences were found for the total distance walked during endurance (p = 0.037) and times for repeated sit-to-stand-to-sit transitions (p < 0.000). We identified reasons for differences and make recommendations for future testing. We were also able to quantify additional characteristics of postural control and gait which could be sensitive outcomes for future HAP assessment. Our findings demonstrate the feasibility of this method to enhance measurement of physical capacity. The methodology can also be applied to a wide variety of accelerometer-based monitors and is applicable to a range of intervention-based studies or pathological assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberN71
Pages (from-to)N71-N83
JournalPhysiological Measurement
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


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