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Research Protocol Adaptations During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Process Evaluation

Mariana Wingood, Amy M. Linsky, Rebekah Harris, Patricia Bamonti, Jennifer Moye, and Jonathan F. Bean

In general, COVID-19-related adaptations that transitioned in-person assessments and interventions to a virtual format were not routinely evaluated. We aimed to conduct a process evaluation to examine the impact of COVID-19-related adaptations on a behavior change intervention designed to increase exercise adherence among Veterans with mobility difficulty. We used secondary data from a nonrandomized study to complete a process evaluation examining the intervention’s reach, recruitment, fidelity, dose delivered by physical therapists, and the dose received by the 14 participating Veterans. The physical therapist delivered 95% (133/140) of the study’s 10 sessions. Sessions with the lowest delivery dose included Sessions 1 and 10 (86%; n = 12/14). The elements with the lowest dose received included using an exercise journal and developing a postintervention plan (86%; n = 12/14). Our COVID-19 adaptations allowed us to provide our intervention to the majority (67%) of eligible participants without a negative impact on fidelity, dose delivered, or dose received.

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Self-Reported Vision Loss, Health Status, and Social Participation Among Middle-Aged and Older Adults—Evidence From China

Xiaodong Zhang, Yuqian Lin, and Chengmeng Zhang

Social participation is crucial for enhancing senior’s well-being and promoting their integration into society. Using nationwide data investigated in China, this study explored the association between self-reported visual impairment, health level, and social participation among Chinese middle-aged old adults. It has been found that (a) the probability and frequency of social participation among middle-aged and older adults with self-reported vision loss were significantly lower than those without vision problems; (b) self-reported vision loss was negatively associated with self-rated health and mental health status, and both were positively associated with social participation; and (c) self-rated health and mental health played a mediating role between vision loss and social participation. The findings suggest that under the framework of active aging, universal vision screening programs and rehabilitation plans for the older adults with visual impairment are exceedingly significant to promote their participation in social activities, thereby enhancing their quality of life.

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The Association Between Allostatic Load and Frailty Trajectories Among Adults Aged 50+ Years: Mediating Role of Physical Activity

Kanglin Shi, Lingxiao He, Zeyun Zhang, Jianlin Lin, Xiaodong Chen, Xinyuan Du, Kewei Shi, Jinzhu Yang, Zaixing Shi, and Ya Fang

Objectives: To identify frailty trajectories and examine its association with allostatic load (AL) and mediating effect of physical activity (PA). Methods: This study included 8,082 adults from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging over Waves 4–9. AL was calculated by 14 biological indicators, and a 53-item frailty index was used to evaluate frailty. Frailty trajectories were classified by group-based trajectory modeling, and the mediated effect of PA was tested by causal mediation analysis. Results: Four frailty trajectories were identified: “Robustness” (n = 4,437, 54.9%), “Incident prefrailty” (n = 2,061, 25.5%), “Prefrailty to frailty” (n = 1,136, 14.1%), and “Frailty to severe frailty” (n = 448, 5.5%). High baseline AL was associated with increased odds of “Incident prefrailty,” “Prefrailty to frailty,” and “Frailty to severe frailty” trajectories. PA demonstrated significant mediated effects in aforementioned associations. Conclusions: AL is significantly associated with the onset and progression of frailty, and such associations are partially mediated by PA.

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Physical and Cognitive Effects of High-Intensity Interval or Circuit-Based Strength Training for Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Systematic Review

Ashley Morgan, Kenneth S. Noguchi, Ada Tang, Jennifer Heisz, Lehana Thabane, and Julie Richardson

Many older adults do not achieve recommended amounts of aerobic or strengthening exercise and high-intensity interval or circuit-based strengthening may offer a time-efficient solution. This review sought to determine the effects of high-intensity interval/circuit strengthening on physical and cognitive functioning for community-dwelling older adults, and its associated adherence, retention, and adverse events. Six databases were searched to June 2022 and 15 studies (11 for effectiveness) were included. The current certainty of evidence is low to very low; upper body-focused physical functioning measures demonstrated small to large benefits and lower body-focused, self-report, and cardiovascular measures had mixed results. There was insufficient evidence (one study) to determine cognitive effects. The mean adherence rates ranged from 73.5% to 95.8%, overall retention across all studies (n = 812) was 86%, and no serious adverse events were reported, suggesting that this type of exercise is feasible for community-dwelling older adults.

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Physiological Demands of Exergames in Older Adults—A Systematic Literature Review

Claudia Kubica, Benjamin Dütschler, Timo Felder, Dario Querciagrossa, and Claudio R. Nigg

New approaches are needed to address low physical activity levels among older adults and to promote daily physical activity tailored to their interests and abilities. This study aimed to review the current literature analyzing the physiological demands of exergames in older adults. A systematic database search was conducted in October 2020 and March 2022. A total of 3,540 studies were screened, and 16 were incorporated into the data analysis. The studies included 527 participants, 61% female, with a mean age of 72.3 ± 4.7 years. Analyzed physiological parameters included mean heart rate, rate of perceived exertion, and metabolic equivalents or oxygen uptake. Exergames are capable of offering light- to moderate-intensity activity for older adults (mean heart rate: 108 ± 9.1 bpm; mean rate of perceived exertion: 11.5 ± 1.8; metabolic equivalents: 2.7 ± 0.7). Although implications are positive, high diversity was found in the study design according to intervention duration and assessment of physiological parameters.

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Physical Activity During the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Order in Active Older Adults: A Qualitative Study

Maria E. Damewood, Savannah-Faith Clark, and Ashley L. Artese

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, in March of 2020, the state of Virginia issued a stay-at-home order requiring fitness center closures for 2.4 months. The purpose of this study was to explore how the fitness center closures influenced physical activity (PA) in older adults who previously participated in the centers’ exercise classes. Eleven older adults (69.0 ± 6.6 years) completed semistructured interviews, which were transcribed and analyzed to identify emergent themes. Ten participants reported engaging in PA during the stay-at-home order; four participants maintained/increased PA compared to prepandemic levels. Four themes emerged regarding PA are as follows: recognition of the value of PA, high self-efficacy in regard to PA, adaptation to circumstances, and functional limitations. Findings suggest that prior exercise class participation positively influenced PA. While most participants did not maintain prepandemic PA levels, they remained active because they recognized the benefits of PA, had high self-efficacy for exercise, and adapted to their circumstances.

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Identifying Ageism Within Australian Local Government Physical Activity Policy: A Critical Discourse Analysis

Michael Butson, Ruth Jeanes, and Justen O’Connor

This research aims to identify ageist content concerning older adults within local government physical activity policy. Policies are not passive texts; they can comprise hidden or disputed connotations. To identify ageism, the study utilizes a critical discourse analysis approach to analyze physical activity policy documents (n = 61) from 16 local government areas in Victoria, Australia, and the perceptions of local government employees trusted with developing these policies, which were gathered during semistructured interviews (n = 11). Results from the critical discourse analysis indicate that local government policies are imbued with ageism, leading to the construction and perpetuation of various stereotypes of older adults. The discourse analysis points to potentially ageist descriptions including older adults being vulnerable, incapable, and a financial burden. Nonetheless, older adults were also revealed to be significant contributors to the community including in paid employment, caregiving roles, and volunteering.

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Immediate Effects of High-Cadence Cycling on Core Outcomes in Individuals With Parkinson’s Disease

Daniel G. Miner and Kevin Chui

Despite a strong body of evidence supporting benefits of exercise to reduce severity of motor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) over time, research on the immediate impact of exercise as an adjunctive therapy for nonpharmacologic management of motor symptoms and mobility performance in people with PD is limited. The purpose of this study was to examine immediate effects of a single bout of high-cadence cycling on motor symptoms of PD and performance-based outcomes. Twenty individuals with idiopathic PD participated in a pretest/posttest study investigating immediate impacts of a single high-cadence cycling session on performance-based outcomes across multiple domains of motor function, mobility, and balance. Outcomes were analyzed based on time since last dose of levodopa/carbidopa medication. Immediate improvements were observed in motor symptoms of PD with significant improvements in performance across multiple balance systems, dynamic gait, and upper-extremity coordination following a cycling intervention.

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Feasibility and Acceptability of a Physical Exercise Program Embedded Into the Daily Lives of Older Adults Living in Nursing Homes: A Pilot Feasibility Study

Eva Barrett, Paddy Gillespie, John Newell, and Dympna Casey

The purpose of this study was to test the feasibility and acceptability of a staff-delivered physical exercise program embedded into the daily lives of older adults living in nursing homes. A randomized controlled pilot feasibility study was carried out, which included quantitative, qualitative, and economic assessments at baseline, 12 weeks, and 12 months. Two nursing homes (one intervention and one control) took part. The exercise program was carried out on 3 days per week for 12 weeks and consisted of a program of Morning Movement (walking and sit-to-stand exercises) and Activity Bursts. The results confirm that the intervention and study processes are largely acceptable and feasible to implement in the nursing home setting. Potential short-term improvements in physical mobility and quality of life were noticed as positive mean changes and supported by qualitative assessment. Future randomized controlled trials should consider using the 6-meter walk test and refining nursing home and participant eligibility criteria.

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Feasibility of a Virtual Health-Promoting Intervention (Choose to Move) for Older Adults: A Rapid Adaptation in Response to COVID-19

Samantha M. Gray, Lindsay Nettlefold, Dawn Mackey, Joanie Sims Gould, and Heather A. McKay

To support older adults during the first wave of COVID-19, we rapidly adapted our effective health-promoting intervention (Choose to Move [CTM]) for virtual delivery in British Columbia, Canada. The intervention was delivered (April–October 2020) to 33 groups of older adults (“programs”) who were a convenience sample (had previously completed CTM in person; n = 153; 86% female; 73 [6] years). We compared implementation outcomes (recruitment, dose received, retention, and completion of virtual data collection) to predetermined feasibility targets. We assessed mobility, physical activity, and social health outcomes pre- and postintervention (3 months) with validated surveys. We met most (dose received, retention, and virtual data collection), but not all (recruitment), feasibility targets. Approximately two thirds of older adults maintained or improved mobility, physical activity, and social health outcomes at 3 months. It was feasible to implement and evaluate CTM virtually. In future, virtual CTM could help us reach homebound older adults and/or serve as support during public health emergencies.