The Impact of COVID-19 on Community-Based Exercise Classes for People With Parkinson Disease

Mark M. Mañago, Laura A. Swink, Emily R. Hager, Robyn Gisbert, Gammon M. Earhart, Cory L. Christiansen, Margaret Schenkman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: he purpose of the study was to determine the impact of novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) restrictions on community-based exercise classes for people with Parkinson disease (PD) and their instructors. METHODS: Data were collected via custom-designed electronic surveys for people with PD and class instructors who reported attending or teaching PD-specific exercise class ≥1 time/week for ≥3 months prior to pandemic restrictions (March 2020). The PD group also completed the Godin Leisure-Time Questionnaire, Self-Efficacy for Exercise scale, Schwab-England scale, and Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire 8. RESULTS: Eighty-seven people with PD (mean = 70 [7.3] years old) and 43 instructors (51 [12.1] years old) from the United States completed surveys (October 2020 to February 2021). Mean Schwab-England (84 [16]) and Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire 8 (21 [15]) scores indicated low-to-moderate disability in the PD group. Ninety-five percent of the PD group had COVID-19 exposure concerns, and 54% reported leaving home ≤1 time/week. Although 77% of the PD group scored "active" on the Godin Leisure-Time Questionnaire, the mean Self-Efficacy for Exercise Scale score (55 [24]) indicated only moderate exercise self-efficacy, and >50% reported decreased exercise quantity/intensity compared with pre-COVID. There was decreased in-person and increased virtual class participation for both groups. The top in-person class barrier for the PD (63%) and instructor (51%) groups was fear of participant COVID-19 exposure. The top virtual class barriers were lack of socialization (20% of PD group) and technology problems (74% of instructor group). CONCLUSION: During COVID-19, there has been less in-person and more virtual exercise class participation in people with PD and decreased exercise quantity and intensity. Virtual classes may not fully meet the needs of people with PD, and primary barriers include technology and lack of socialization. IMPACT: As COVID-19 restrictions wane, it is imperative to help people with PD increase exercise and activity. The barriers, needs, and facilitators identified in this study might help inform approaches to increase participation in exercise and activity for people with PD. LAY SUMMARY: During COVID-19, there has been less in-person and more virtual exercise class participation in people with PD and a decrease in exercise quantity and intensity. If you have PD, virtual classes might not fully meet your needs. Primary barriers may include technology problems and lack of social interaction.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical therapy
Volume101
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021

Keywords

  • Exercise
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Movement Disorders
  • Neurology
  • Parkinson Disease

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