Heart Rate and Physical Activity Patterns in Persons With Profound Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities

Aly Waninge*, Annette A. J. van der Putten, Roy E. Stewart, Bert Steenbergen, Ruud van Wijck, Cees P. van der Schans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Because physical fitness and health are related to physical activity, it is important to gain an insight into the physical activity levels of persons with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD). The purpose of this study was to examine heart rate patterns to measure the activity levels of persons with PIMD and to analyze these heart rate patterns according to participant characteristics, observed level of activity, days, and time of day. The heart rate patterns of 24 participants with PIMD were measured continuously using a heart rate monitor for 8 hd(-1) for a period of 6 days. Physical activity levels were measured with questionnaires. Data were analyzed using multilevel analysis. The results indicate that the participants use only 32% of their heart rate reserve over 6 days. The intensity of heart rate reserve ranged from 1 to 62%. On a given day, wide ranges in heart rates between participants and within persons were observed. Between days, only small ranges in the heart rate were found. The participants could be grouped into 4 classes according to their heart rate. In addition, factors such as time of day, physical activity, and age are significantly related to heart rate patterns. In conclusion, this study is an important first step in exploring activity patterns based on heart rate patterns in persons with PIMD. The participants used relatively small fractions of their heart rate reserves. Time of day and age appear to have a considerable influence on heart rate patterns. The observed classes in heart rate patterns suggest that other probably more personal and psychosocial factors have significant influences on heart rate patterns, as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3150-3158
Number of pages9
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2013


  • physical activity
  • persons with PIMD
  • sedentary
  • heart rate monitoring
  • PIMD

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