Make movement your mission: evaluation of an online digital health initiative to increase physical activity in older people during the COVID-19 pandemic

Alessandro Bosco*, Lisa McGarrigle, Dawn A. Skelton, R.M.E. Laventure, Bex Townley, Chris Todd

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Objective: To formatively evaluate the Make Movement Your Mission (MMYM) digital health initiative to promote physical activity (PA) levels and help avert the negative consequences of sedentary behaviours in older adults during the SARSCoV2 pandemic.

Methods: Mixed-method study to explore activity levels, changes in physical function and Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), quality-of-life, social engagement, technology use, and accessibility. Survey data were analysed descriptively. Qualitative interviews were analysed using framework analysis.

Results: Forty-one respondents completed the survey (Mean age 68.4 (8.9) years; 34 Female), 68% aged ≥ 65 years. Average attendance was 14.3 sessions per week (3.5 h). 73% had been with MMYM for >1 year, 90% reported they were engaging in more movement on a typical day, and 75% reported improvement in ability to perform moderate PA. Since starting MMYM, participation in activities targeting strength, balance and flexibility increased (by 48%, 73% and 75%, respectively). 83% met strength and 90% balance PA guidelines for health (≥ 2x per week). Between 18% and 53% of respondents reported improvements in ADLs, 53% reported better quality-of-life, and 28% increased use of the internet. Eight participants were interviewed (Mean age 70.7 (6.7) years; 7 Female). Activity levels were promoted by having direct support from the instructor through Facebook messages pre and post live sessions, having group expectation about quality and level of engagement, having a sense of control and encouragement from others, MMYMs regularity, choice around level of engagement and accessibility. Noticing short-term outcomes in balance and posture helped boost confidence and continued participation.

Conclusion: Clinical trials need to robustly assess its effectiveness and acceptability.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalDigital Health
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • physical activity
  • older people
  • ADLs
  • physical function
  • social isolation
  • eHealth
  • COVID-19

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