The system will not be taking data in for long periods of time -- it will probably only take in data for say, 6-10 of the 26 hours in a day, so waking every 500ms is still wasting a lot of power.
When I receive a signal from an accelerometer, I want the system to wake up and start taking in data.
My instinct is that you will want an analogue comparator to watch the signal from the accelerometer and generate an interrupt signal on the Arduino if it crosses a certain threshold.
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