Upper-limb activity in adults: Referent values using accelerometry

Ryan R. Bailey, Catherine E. Lang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


The goal of physical rehabilitation following upper-limb (UL) impairment is functional restoration of the UL for use in daily activities. Because capacity for UL function may not translate into real-world activity, it is important that assessment of real-world UL activity be used in conjunction with clinical measures of capacity. Accelerometry can be used to quantify duration of UL activity outside of the clinic. The purpose of this study was to characterize hours of UL activity and potential modifying factors of UL activity (sedentary activity, cognitive impairment, depressive symptomatology, additive effects of comorbidities, cohabitation status, and age). Seventy-four community-dwelling adults wore accelerometers on bilateral wrists for 25 h and provided information on modifying factors. Mean time of dominant UL activity was 9.1 +/- 1.9 h, and the ratio of activity between the nondominant and dominant ULs was0.95 +/- 0.06 h. Decreased hours of dominant UL activity was associated with increased time spent in sedentary activity. No other factors were associated with hours of dominant UL activity. These data can be used to help clinicians establish outcome goals for patients given preimpairment level of sedentary activity and to track progress during rehabilitation of the ULs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1213-1222
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2013


  • Accelerometry
  • Arm activity
  • Capacity
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Depression
  • Function
  • Real-world activity
  • Referent data
  • Sedentary activity
  • Upper-limb activity


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