Wrist-worn accelerometer measures of movement by people with Parkinson's attending dance classes at the University of Hertfordshire

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


Introduction: Various forms of physical activity can be beneficial, both physically and psychologically, for people with Parkinson’s disease. Exercise, including dance and treadmill training, has been reported to improve quality of life, functional mobility and mood (Lewis et al, 2014; Shanahan et al, 2015). The use of a wrist worn accelerometer can provide an objective, yet non-invasive, way of quantifying physical exercise. Accelerometers are increasingly being used to measure levels of activity in the general population, and specific movements by people with Parkinson’s in the shorter term (Dijkstra et al., 2010). However, limited research to date has used accelerometers to measure activity over longer periods as people with Parkinson’s engage in particular activities, for example dance and exercise classes. There are anecdotal reports that the benefits of attending a dance class extend over the hours immediately following the session and then may wear off. The present two-part study will be the first to investigate these reports quantitatively.
Methods: People with Parkinson’s who regularly attend a dance class at the University of Hertfordshire wore an accelerometer on their wrist during the hour of the dance class and for a second hour while sitting and socialising with other dance class attendees. Their partners/ carers and younger volunteers also attending the dance classes wore the accelerometers during the same two hour period, thus providing matched data from both younger and older non- Parkinson’s controls.
In the second part of the study the same participants wear an accelerometer during the dance class and then continuously after the class for a period of eight days, including the dance class the following week. Participants are not required to do any specific activities during this period, but continue with their normal routine, keeping a log of any periods of intense or quiet activity.
Results: Data collected to date demonstrates accurate movement tracking by the accelerometers in that patterns of activity were very similar in each trio (Parkinson’s, non-Parkinson’s and younger control) attending the same dance class. Overall activity levels while dancing were similar across the 3 groups.
Data collection from the second part of the study is ongoing and when complete will reveal whether accelerometers can be used to investigate activity by people with Parkinson’s and controls in the longer term following a dance class.
Conclusion: This is the first study to quantify activity levels of people with Parkinson’s over a sustained period of time subsequent to a dance class. The study will inform current understanding of the physical benefits of dance for people with Parkinson’s in terms of the influence on immediate and long term activity levels post dance class.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2016
EventAction observation and imitation in Parkinson's - University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Apr 2016 → …


ConferenceAction observation and imitation in Parkinson's
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period9/04/16 → …


  • Parkinson Disease


Dive into the research topics of 'Wrist-worn accelerometer measures of movement by people with Parkinson's attending dance classes at the University of Hertfordshire'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this