Improving physical and mental health via live online physical activity for older persons: A pilot randomized control trial
Older individuals are at a much greater risk for COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality, a risk which is even higher in older adults with comorbidities, and undoubtedly exacerbated by physical inactivity. Mitigating the risk for infection by avoiding in-person contact is critical to keeping older individuals safe but may result in reduced physical activity. Protracted periods of reduced physical activity drastically increase the risk of older individuals experiencing a stark decline in mental and physical health, progressing towards developing frailty and becoming dependent. This pilot randomized control trial of a live online physical activity program is designed to assess the feasibility and acceptability of this intervention. Such data is relevant to target future funding opportunities necessary for running a larger clinical trial, in a larger population, with a potential for inclusion of people with co-morbid conditions (diabetes, dementia, cardiovascular disease).
“What will happen when the pandemic ends? We are of course all hoping for a return to normal and our lives as they were before COVID. The problem is that the physical deconditioning that older people will have experienced during this pandemic will have, we believe, a profound impact. These impacts will, we propose, be mitigated by older people participating in online exercise classes in a “group” environment, and that the impacts will be mental as well as physical. When the pandemic ends, older people should all be physically and mentally ready to rejoin society.”