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Understanding how home-based exercise can help older adults stay healthy during covid-19 lockdown

In this unprecedented time of the Coronavirus pandemic, we are aiming to help older adults choose the right exercise to suit their lifestyle and needs.

Study information

We would like your help to understand how homebased exercise can help older adults stay strong and healthy during the covid-19 lockdown.

In this unprecedented time of the Coronavirus pandemic, everyone is being asked to remain in homes, which inevitably could lead to lower levels of physical activity.

As we get older, our muscles get smaller and weaker, and periods of reduced physical activity can make this worse. Loss of muscle function is associated with poorer balance and mental health, and increased risk of frailty and chronic diseases.

It is essential that older adults find practical and effective ways to maintain strength and balance during periods of prolonged isolation, and we are undertaking research to help with this.

Through this new study, we want to understand more about how home-based exercise, in particular ‘exercise snacking’, Tai-chi, and the standard NHS guidance could all work to maintain, and even improve, function and mental well-being in over 65s.

We hope that these findings can help older adults choose the right exercise to suit their lifestyle and needs.


To be eligible to participate in this study, you must:

  • be aged 65 or over
  • be free from musculoskeletal injuries
  • not be currently engaging in another form of regular exercise, be it recreational sports or structured exercise at home (once a week or more)

If you are under 65, but have a qualifying family member or friend, please do share this page with them.

What's involved in the study

The research will be conducted online using remote surveys and video calling, and all participants will be asked to undertake a four-week exercise programme.

The first part of the online survey will provide all the study information and eligibility screening. If you agree to take part, you will be asked to complete an online questionnaire about your physical activity and well-being during the lockdown. We will then arrange a video call with you to assess physical function.

You will then be randomly assigned to undertake one of four exercise programmes lasting four weeks. Guidance will be provided through an instructional video along with written instructions on how to perform the exercises safely. For the study, you will be asked to record an exercise log, and after four weeks, assessments of function will be repeated by video call.

You will also be asked to complete another online questionnaire and evaluation of the usefulness and acceptability of the exercises that you were asked to do.

What you'll get for taking part

At the end of the study, you will have access to all resources for each exercise programme. And by taking part, you will learn about ways to exercise to improve muscle strength.


All data collected, including personal, identifiable data will be treated as confidential, with all data stored on a password-protected file on the University of Bath’s secure server in compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law. This study has received ethical approval1.

If you're interested in taking part, we'd love to hear from you.

Take part in our research

Get in touch

If you have any questions about this research study, please contact the lead researcher.

1This project has been given a favourable opinion by the University of Bath, Research Ethics Approval Committee for Health (REACH) [reference: EP 19/20 034].