Investigating Remotely Delivered Strategies that Promote Physical Activity Participation in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Scoping Review

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The effects of physical inactivity among older adults have been established as a "public health crisis" because of their heightened risk of cardiovascular, autoimmune, neurocognitive, and mental health problems (Wu, 2020). While physical distancing is essential in the fight against COVID-19, long-term self-isolation protocols established to protect the elderly population have created new health risks, as older adults are now left more socially isolated and inactive than before. Making an investment in physically distant human connection is crucial to enable community-dwelling older adults to age-in-place independently. Further, public health officials have has identified a need to transition to remote methods to best support older adults and recognize that remote public health measures should be taken long-term. The purpose of this systematic review is to identify current remotely delivered strategies that best engages community-dwelling older adults to participate in physical activity during and beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic. A standardized approach outlined by Levac et al. was followed to complete a scoping review (Levec et al., 2010). At least three reviewers were involved in the screening process to correct for potential bias using the Covidence Platform. All reviews included in the data extraction process identified outcomes pertaining to increasing physical activity levels. This project confirms the effectiveness of remotely delivered strategies that are multi-faceted to promote physical activity for community-dwelling older adults. The effectiveness of the interventions seemed to be tied to the following themes - presence of ongoing social support, availability of personalized educational content and tailored advice, goal-setting modalities and journaling behaviours, and intervention useability.


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