Is Residency Training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation a Sedentary Activity? A Prospective Observational Cohort Study

PM&R Resident Daily Steps



Pedometer, Physical Activity, Exercise, Fellowship, Residents



Objective: 1) Determine the level of daily activity of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) residents as measured by steps during a typical workday and 24-hour on-call period, 2) the percent of time without stepping activity, and 3) assess accuracy of residents’ self-reported steps/day.

Methods: Thirty-seven PM&R residents carried a Fitbit Ultra while on-call over a 24-hour period.  Prior to the study, residents were asked to estimate their daily step count.

Results: Residents took an average of 6,432(SD 2,027) steps per 24-hour call-period; 3,413 +1,197 workday steps and 3,019 +1,423 overnight steps(p<.01). Residents overestimated their daily steps by an average of 3,000 (SD 3,330, p<.01). No stepping activity was recorded for an average of 83.6% of the 24-hour period. Residents reached 10,000 daily steps in only 19/364 days (5.2%). 

Conclusion:  PM&R Resident physical activity, as measured by stepping activity, does not meet recommended levels of daily activity for health-related benefits.  Based on steps taken during a typical workday, residency training in PM&R may be considered a sedentary activity. Data suggests that residents are unaware of their daily worktime activity levels, thus representing a need for increased resident education regarding the importance of physical activity during personal time. 

Author Biographies

Daniel Cushman, Dr., University of Utah

Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Zachary L McCormick, Dr., University of Utah

Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation