J Aging Phys Act. 2021 Dec 17:1-11. doi: 10.1123/japa.2021-0098. Online ahead of print.
Safety guidelines resulting from the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic may reduce physical activity participation of older adults, particularly prefrail and frail individuals. The objective was to explore older adults’ experiences with physical activity during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Using a qualitative descriptive approach, interviews were conducted with 16 older adults. Data were analyzed thematically. Two themes emerged: (a) coming to a standstill and (b) small steps. Participants described that imposed provincial and federal recommendations caused them to reduce their physical activity with negative consequences. As time progressed, participants used emerging public health knowledge about coronavirus disease 2019 to safely increase physical activity. Many participants developed strategies to remain active during the pandemic (e.g., wearing a pedometer, walking outdoors at particular times of day). Findings from this study can better inform the development of programs, clinical practice, and policy for physical activity promotion in older adults during periods of physical distancing and isolation.
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