Feasibility, Usability, and Acceptability of Online Mind-Body Exercise Programs for Older Adults: A Scoping Review

Author: Janelle Gravesande1, Lisandra Almeida de Oliveira1, Natasha Malik2, Brenda Vrkljan1, Rong Zheng3, Paula M Gardner2, Lisa C Carlesso1
1 School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.
2 Department of Communication Studies and Media Arts, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.
3 Department of Computing and Software, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.
Conference/Journal: J Integr Complement Med
Date published: 2023 Mar 21
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1089/jicm.2022.0822. , Word Count: 271

Objectives: Engaging in mind-body exercises (MBEs: e.g., Tai Chi and yoga) can have physical and mental health benefits particularly for older adults. Many MBEs require precise timing and coordination of complex body postures posing challenges for online instruction. Such challenges include difficulty viewing instructors as they demonstrate different movements and lack of feedback to participants. With the shift of exercise programs to online platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic, we conducted a scoping review to examine the feasibility, usability, and acceptability of online MBE classes for older adults. Materials and Methods: We followed the scoping review methodology and adhered to the PRISMA reporting checklist. We searched five databases: Medline, Embase, CINHAL, Web of Science, and ACM digital library. Screening of articles and data extraction was conducted independently by two reviewers. Settings/Location: Online/virtual. Subjects: Older adults ≥55 years of age. Outcome Measures: Feasibility measures. Results: Of 6711 studies retrieved, 18 studies were included (715 participants, mean age 66.9 years). Studies reported moderate to high retention and adherence rates (mean >75%). Older adults reported online MBE classes were easy to use and reported high satisfaction with the online format. We also identified barriers (e.g., lack of space and privacy and unstable internet connection) and facilitators (e.g., convenience and technical support) to the online format. Opinions related to social connectedness were mixed. Conclusion: Online MBE programs for older adults appear to be a feasible and acceptable alternative to in-person programs. It is important to consider the type of exercise (e.g., MBE), diverse teaching styles, and learner needs when designing online exercise classes.

Keywords: Tai Chi; geriatrics; mind/body; online; qigong; yoga.

PMID: 36944159 DOI: 10.1089/jicm.2022.0822