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Physical Activity and Perceived Health in People With Parkinson Disease During the First Wave of Covid-19 Pandemic: A Cross-sectional Study From Sweden

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People with Parkinson disease (PD) are known to be at risk of physical inactivity and may therefore be especially vulnerable to negative health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic due to social distancing recommendations.


To investigate sensor-derived physical activity and perceived health of people with PD during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the factors associated with these outcomes.


Physical activity was measured over 7 days using the Actigraph GT3x accelerometer. Data were collected regarding perceived health status and physical activity habits, as well as rehabilitation attendance during the pandemic. Multiple linear and logistic regression analyses were used to identify factors associated with physical activity and perceived changes in health.


Of 89 participants, a majority (67%) reported a pandemic-related reduction in exercise habits. Women more commonly reported a reduction in scheduled exercise and cancelled rehabilitation than men. Study participants took on average 5876 ± 3180 steps per day. In the multivariate analysis, female gender, being 70 years of age and older, and greater reported mobility problems were associated with being less physically active. A pandemic-induced deterioration in health was reported by 42% and women were 5 times more likely than men to do so (odds ratio: 5.12, 95% confidence interval, 1.87-15.03; P = 0.002).

Discussion and Conclusions:

Despite a pandemic-related reduction in reported exercise habits and rehabilitation, the participants in this Swedish sample were relatively physically active. However, women were less active at moderate-vigorous levels and were at greater risk of deterioration in perceived health during this time.

Video Abstract available for more insight from the authors (see the Video, Supplemental Digital Content 1, available at:

Keywords: COVID-19; Parkinson disease; accelerometry; perceived health; physical activity

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 6, 2021

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