The Role of Technology in Adherence to Physical Activity Programs in Patients with Chronic Diseases Experiencing Fatigue: a Systematic Review

Andrea Albergoni, Florentina J. Hettinga, Antonio La Torre, Matteo Bonato, Francesco Sartor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: The beneficial role of physical activity (PA) to manage the health condition of patients with chronic diseases is well known. However, adherence to PA guidelines in this group is still low. Monitoring and user-interface technology could represent a significant tool to increase exercise adherence to those particular groups who experience difficulties in adhering to regular and substantial physical activity, and could be supportive in increasing the success of PA programs and interventions. This systematic review aimed at evaluating the effect of physical activity monitoring technology in improving adherence to a PA program in patients with chronic diseases experiencing fatigue. Methods: This systematic review was conducted according to PRISMA guidelines. The literature search was performed in Embase, Medline, Biosis, Scopus, and SPORTDiscus. We filtered the literature according to the question: “Does monitoring technology affect adherence to physical activity and exercise programs in patients with chronic diseases perceiving fatigue?”. Results: The search resulted in 1790 hits; finally, eight studies were included, with a total number of 205 patients. Study quality was moderate except for one study of high quality. Only three disease types emerged, COPD, HF, and cancer. PA programs were rather short (from 8 to 13 weeks) except for one 3-year-long study. Five studies employed pedometers and two an activity monitor. Three studies based their adherence on steps, the remaining studies focused on active minutes. Adherence was explicitly reported in two studies, and otherwise derived. Four studies showed high adherence levels (85% week-10, 89% week-8, 81% week-13, 105% week-13, 83% average week-1–12) and three low levels (56% week-12, 41% year-2, 14 year-3). Conclusion: The small number of studies identified did not allow to establish whether the use of monitoring technology could improve adherence to PA programs in patients with chronic diseases experiencing fatigue, but the current evidence seems to suggest that this is a field warranting further study, particularly into how monitoring technology can help to engage patients to adhere to PA programs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number41
JournalSports Medicine - Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Activity monitors
  • Cancer
  • COPD
  • Guidelines
  • Patients
  • Pedometers
  • Self-efficacy steps
  • Technology
  • Wearables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The Role of Technology in Adherence to Physical Activity Programs in Patients with Chronic Diseases Experiencing Fatigue: a Systematic Review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this