Older adults with multiple sclerosis (MS) who say they use fitness trackers report greater amounts of physical activity, according to a study published online July 31 in the Disability & Health Journal.
Stephanie L. Silveira, Ph.D., from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues conducted an online survey to assess patterns of fitness tracker use in 440 adults older than 60 years with MS.
The researchers report that 28 percent of respondents identified themselves as fitness tracker users. Fitness tracker users were more likely to report having relapsing-remitting MS, less disability, higher income, and higher rates of employment. There were statistically significant differences in the Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire total score and health-promoting physical activity score between fitness tracker users and nonusers. There was also a correlation noted between both of these scores and self-reported step counts among fitness tracker users.
“Further research is warranted investigating fitness tracker use and interests among older adults with MS and how technology may be applied as a behavioral tool to increase physical activity among this growing portion of the MS population,” the authors write.