The Development and Feasibility of a Pedometer-Based Exercise System for Women With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Jen-Chen Tsai, PhD, RN
School of Nursing, National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan, Taiwan
Mei-Ling Wu, PhD
Department of Nursing, Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, Taiwan, Taiwan

Purpose: Low levels of physical activity are common in women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and a sedentary lifestyle is associated with risk factors of cardiovascular diseases, poor health outcomes and increased mortality. It has been suggested that encouraging physical activities could benefit SLE population. However, there is limited information about effective strategies of promoting physical activity for people with SLE. Because walking was the most practical and desirable activity for SLE patients, this study aimed to design and evaluate the feasibility of a pedometer-based exercise decision support system on smartphone APP for SLE women.

Methods: The structure of this proposed system includes a step counter, personal information, an environmental detector (e.g., temperature, humidity, ultraviolet, and atmospheric particulate matter), a goal calculation algorithm, a step-count feedback section and the cloud computing system. Function of the system consists of pre-exercise assessment (based on personal and environmental information), exercise decision making, personalized exercise recommendation, and real-time monitoring and feedback. We proposed an initiate goal of 5,000-7000 steps/day that include 30 minutes of moderate to vigor physical activity. Individual step-count goals were developed based on the user’s mean daily steps of the previous week. Women with stable progress were encouraged to approaching 7,000-10,000 steps/day. A feasibility study was conducted among ten women with SLE, age between 20 and 65 years old, at an outpatient clinic in Taiwan. Each participant was instructed to carry the smartphone and use this proposed system for 4 weeks.

Results: Nine women who had mild to moderate SLE disease severity completed the study. Their mean age was 48.3±13.5 years. Mean daily step counts ranged between 1578 and 4050 with the mean of 2669 steps/day. Although mean daily steps of these women were not significantly increased during the 4-weeks study (mean differences: 488±1276 steps/day, t= -1.15 , p= 0.28 ), they reported satisfaction for the proposed system to promote daily activity at homes.

Conclusion: This system is innovate because of the pre-exercise assessment mechanisms and personal goal setting are specific to detecting suitable environment and the recommended amount of daily activity for SLE users. Based on the amount of activity and goals reached of the participants, we adjusted the program of this system accordingly. Further evaluation of its efficacy is in progress.