THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON EXERCISE IN THE SENIOR POPULATION
Dana Cruise1, Kivana Keane1, Trudy Moore-Harrison1, L. Jerome Brandon, FACSM2. 1University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC. 2Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA.
BACKGROUND: With COVID-19 causing a closure of senior centers, the senior population who partake in exercise classes were faced with the option of virtual or no exercise classes at all. The purpose of this study was to determine how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted attendance rates for exercise classes at senior centers. METHODS: Attendance records were taken from three exercise classes that occurred before the senior center closed due to COVID-19 and resumed after the center reopened. The sample size was 173 senior citizens (age 55 and older) who were attending exercise classes before the center closed. Attendance was measured via check-in prior to each class. Differences in attendance prior to and post closure were measured using a t-test. Reasons for not returning were obtained via phone call to participants. RESULTS: The number of participants in exercise classes before closure was significantly higher than those who returned after closure (87.33 participants vs 23 participants, p=0.01). Of the participants that answered the phone, fear of COVID-19 is the third leading cause of not returning (19%). CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19-related closures caused a significant reduction in exercise attendance rates at senior centers following reopening. Fear of COVID-19 remains in those who have not returned. This suggests that a pandemic can dramatically impact fitness levels of senior citizens.
Cruise, D; Keane, K; Moore-Harrison, T; and Brandon, FACSM, LJ
"THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON EXERCISE IN THE SENIOR POPULATION,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings: Vol. 16:
1, Article 47.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijesab/vol16/iss1/47