Safety and feasibility of an interactive workshop and facilitated outdoor walking group compared to a workshop alone in increasing outdoor walking activity among older adults: a pilot randomized controlled trial

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Barclay, Ruth
Webber, Sandra
Ripat, Jacquie
Grant, Theresa
Jones, C. A
Lix, Lisa M
Mayo, Nancy
van Ineveld, Cornelia
Salbach, Nancy M
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Abstract Background Limited outdoor walking is a marker of frailty and a risk factor for decline in mobility and self-care functioning, social isolation, and reduced health-related quality of life (HRQL). Objectives were to evaluate the safety, feasibility, and preliminary effect of a supervised outdoor walking group and interactive workshop compared to the workshop alone in increasing outdoor walking activity and identify an optimal method for estimating outdoor walking activity among older adults who infrequently walk outdoors. Methods A pilot 2-parallel-group randomized controlled trial was conducted. Adults aged ≥ 65 years who reported walking ≤ 20 min/week outdoors were randomized in a 2:1 ratio to receive the GO-OUT program (1-day workshop and 9-week outdoor walking group), or the workshop alone. An external site conducted the randomization after workshop completion. The eight workshop activity stations aimed to build knowledge and skills to safely walk outdoors. The group-based outdoor walking program consisted of repetitive practice of mobility tasks at local parks. The primary outcome of outdoor walking activity used an activity monitor and GPS; secondary outcomes included aerobic, balance, and walking capacity; physical activity; participation; mood; and HRQL. Blinded outcome assessors evaluated participants at 0, 3, and 6 months. Qualitative interviews occurred after 3 months; data were analyzed with qualitative description. Quantitative data were summarized using descriptive statistics. Results Forty-eight individuals were screened; 9 were eligible and randomized to the GO-OUT (n = 6) or workshop (n = 3) group. Data from 9 participants were analyzed. Mean age was 77 and 74 years in the GO-OUT and workshop groups, respectively. No falls occurred during the workshop and outdoor walking program. Average attendance of the walking group was 61%. All participants attended the evaluations and workshop. An analysis method combining data from activity monitors and GPS was developed to estimate outdoor walking. Themes from the qualitative analysis included the barriers to outdoor walking, impact of the workshop and GO-OUT walking group, and feasibility and acceptance of the assessment and intervention strategies. Conclusions The trial protocol was deemed safe and feasible. Results were used to inform changes to the protocol to conduct a full-scale study. Trial registration Clinical NCT02339467 .
Pilot and Feasibility Studies. 2018 Nov 29;4(1):179