Patients receiving inpatient rehabilitation for lower limb orthopaedic conditions do much less physical activity than recommended in guidelines for healthy older adults: an observational study
QUESTION: Are ambulant patients who are admitted for inpatient rehabilitation for a lower limb orthopaedic condition active enough to meet current physical activity guidelines? DESIGN: Prospective observational study. PARTICIPANTS: Adults admitted for inpatient rehabilitation for a lower limb orthopaedic condition who were cognitively alert and able to walk independently or with assistance. OUTCOME MEASURES: Participants wore an activity monitor for three full days. Daily time spent in moderate intensity physical activity was used to determine whether the levels of physical activity recommended in clinical guidelines were achieved. RESULTS: Fifty-four participants with a mean age of 74 years (SD 11) took a median of 398 (IQR 140 to 993) steps per day and spent a median of 8 (IQR 3 to 16) minutes walking per day. No participant completed a 10-minute bout of moderate intensity physical activity during the monitoring period. One participant accumulated 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity and nine participants accumulated 15 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity in a day. Physical activity was associated with shorter length of stay (r=-0.43) and higher functional status on discharge (r=0.39). CONCLUSIONS: Adults with lower limb orthopaedic conditions in inpatient rehabilitation are relatively inactive and do not meet current physical activity guidelines for older adults. Results of this study indicate that strategies to increase physical activity are required.