Perspectives of People with Parkinson Disease Managing Exercise during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Qualitative Study

Amy Yorke, Jamie Haines

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Objective:Toexplore the experiences of people with Parkinson’s disease (PwPD)inmanagingtheir exercise during the first four months of the pandemic (March-July 2020).Background:Exercise is essential for successful disease management in PwPD.Community-based exerciseclasses allow for social interaction and greater exercise adherence in PwPD.Due to precautions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, access to in-person community-based exercise classes were terminated in March 2020 in the state of Michigan(U.S.A)secondary tostay-at-home orders.Methods:Twenty PwPD who attended community-basedexercise classes prior to class closures were purposely recruited via convenience sampling.Semi-structured interviewswere completed using video conferencing system with participantsapproximately four months(July2020)after classes were canceled.Questions focused on participants’ activity and exerciseprior to, during stay-at-homeorders (March-June), and currentstatus. Audio recordings were transcribed,and the constant comparative method was used for theme identification. Results:Overall, the participants held active lives self-reporting the frequency of exercising pre-COVID 4.5 days/week (range 1-7). At the time of interview, participants reports their current exercise at 3.9days/week (range 0-7). Four main themes were identified (1) Initial Fear, Confusion, and Loss; (2) Exercise is Essential(subthemes helps managing symptoms and socialization);(3) Challenges, Alternatives, and New Opportunities for Exercise; (4) Future of Community Based Classes. Conclusions:COVID-19 changed the way that PwPD managed their exercise. Initially, our participants expressed uncertainty in managing exercise while negotiating the concerns surrounding the pandemic. Participants expressed missing the social support and the accountability that were provided by the group class structure. Key factorsimpacting the transition included reliance on care partner support, willingness to try alternatives, and the ability to utilize technologyin accessing exercise options. PwPD expressed concerns and hope about returningto face-to-faceclasses, but also discussed the need for continuing online exercise options. Keywords:Parkinson’s disease, exercise, COVID-19
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - Sep 2021
EventMovement Disorder Society Virtual Congress - Virtual
Duration: Sep 1 2021Sep 30 2021


ConferenceMovement Disorder Society Virtual Congress


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