The Associations of Activity Fragmentation with Physical and Mental Fatigability among Community-Dwelling 75-, 80- and 85-Year-Old People
Palmberg, L., Rantalainen, T., Rantakokko, M., Karavirta, L., Siltanen, S., Skantz, H., Saajanaho, M., Portegijs, E., & Rantanen, T. (2020). The Associations of Activity Fragmentation with Physical and Mental Fatigability among Community-Dwelling 75-, 80- and 85-Year-Old People. Journals of Gerontology Series A : Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 75(9), e103–e110. https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glaa166
© The Author(s) 2020
Background Fatigue related to task standardized by duration and intensity, termed fatigability, could manifest as shortening of activity bouts throughout the day causing daily activity to accumulate in a more fragmented pattern. Our purpose was to study the association of activity fragmentation with physical and mental dimensions of fatigability. Methods A cross-sectional study of 485 community-dwelling 75-,80- and 85-year-old people using a thigh-worn accelerometer for 3 to 7 days. Activity fragmentation was studied as Active-to-Sedentary Transition Probability (ASTP) for two operational definitions of physical activity: accelerations equivalent to at least light physical activity, and for upright posture. Physical fatigability was assessed as perceived exertion fatigability, performance fatigability severity, and with the Physical Fatigue Subscale of the Situational Fatigue Scale (SFS). Mental fatigability was assessed with the Mental Fatigue Subscale of the SFS and as a decrease in perceived mental alertness after a six-minute walk test (6MWT). Results Higher activity fragmentation was associated with higher self-reported physical fatigability, perceived exertion fatigability and performance fatigability severity, independent of total activity minutes (β 0.13-0.33, p<0.05 for all). Higher activity fragmentation was not associated with mental fatigability in the fully adjusted models. The associations with fatigability indices were similar for both activity fragmentation indicators. Associations of activity fragmentation and performance fatigability severity were similar also among those with the highest intensity-based physical activity volume. Conclusions The findings provide support that studying fragmented activity patterns can be useful in identifying those at risk for high fatigability, even among those with relatively high physical activity level. ...
PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)
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- Liikuntatieteiden tiedekunta 
Related funder(s)Academy of Finland; European Commission
Funding program(s)Research post as Academy Research Fellow, AoF; Research costs of Academy Research Fellow, AoF
The content of the publication reflects only the author’s view. The funder is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
Additional information about fundingThis work was supported by the European Research Council (grant number 693045 [to TaR]); the Academy of Finland (grant numbers 321336 and 328818 [to TiR], grant number 310526 [to TaR]); the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture [to MR and EP] and the University of Jyvaskyla.
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