Impact of Falls on Physical Activity in People with Parkinson's Disease

Ylva Hivand Hiorth*, Jan Petter Larsen, Kirsten Lode, Ole Bjørn Tysnes, Alan Godfrey, Sue Lord, Lynn Rochester, Kenn Freddy Pedersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Background: A complex relationship exists between motor impairment, physical activity (sedentary behavior, standing and ambulatory activity) and falls in people with Parkinson's disease (PD). Objective: To explore associations between recent fall history and the ability to retain an active lifestyle as determined by the volume, pattern and variability of physical activity in people with PD. Methods: Forty-eight participants with PD were recruited from the Norwegian ParkWest study. Body posture and ambulatory activity were monitored objectively over 7 days using the activPAL3TM accelerometer. Clinical assessments included the Hoehn and Yahr stage, Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale motor section and Falls Efficacy Scale-International. Structured interviews were performed to obtain information about demographics, fall history last 6 months, mobility and dementia. Results: Participants with a fall history (n = 20) spent more time sedentary and less time standing than non-falling participants (n = 28). There were no significant differences regarding pattern or variability of sedentary behavior, standing or ambulatory activity in falling versus non-falling participants. Confidence in being able to get up from floor contributed significantly to time spent in sedentary behavior and ambulatory activity in participants with fall history, whereas motor impairment was significantly associated with time spent in all facets of physical activity for non-falling participants. Conclusions: Fall history in our PD cohort was associated with a more sedentary lifestyle, but not less ambulatory activity. More emphasis on improving the capacity to safely complete activities of daily living and increase confidence in getting up from floor may reduce sedentary behavior in people with PD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-182
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Parkinson's Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


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