Physical activity and health-related quality of life in adults with a neurologically-related mobility disability during the COVID-19 pandemic: an exploratory analysis

Tom E. Nightingale, Nicola Heneghan, Sally Fenton, Joachimina Veldhuijzen van Zanten, Catherine Ruth Jutzeler

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Abstract

Background: During the coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) pandemic various containment strategies were employed. Their impact on individuals with neurological conditions, considered vulnerable to COVID-19 complications, remains to be determined.

Objective: To investigate associations between physical activity and health-related quality of life outcomes in individuals with a neurological condition during government mandated COVID-19 restrictions.

Methods: An e-questionnaire assessing fear of COVID-19, physical activity level and health-related quality of life outcomes (functional disability and pain, anxiety and depression, loneliness, fatigue and vitality) was distributed to individuals with a neurologically-related mobility disability living in the United Kingdom. Open-ended questions were also included to contextualize barriers and facilitators to engage in physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gamma-weighted generalized linear models and tree-structured regression models were employed to determine the associations between physical activity and health-related quality of life.

Results: Of 199 responses, 69% reported performing less physical activity compared to pre-pandemic. Tree-structured regression models revealed that lower leisure-time physical activity was significantly associated (p≤.008) with higher depression and fatigue, but lower vitality. The closure of leisure facilities and organized sport (27%) was the most commonly cited barrier to engage in physical activity, while 31% of participants mentioned concerns around their physical and mental health as a facilitator.

Conclusion: Our analysis identified homogenous subgroups for depression, fatigue, and vitality based specifically on leisure-time physical activity cut points, irrespective of additional demographic or situational characteristics. Findings highlight the importance of and need to safely promote leisure-time physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic in this at-risk population to help support health-related quality of life.
Original languageEnglish
Article number699884
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in neurology
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2021

Keywords

  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Exercise
  • neurological disorders
  • wellbeing
  • pandemic
  • Mental Health

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