Background: Many individuals living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are physically inactive. Current physical activity programs for individuals with COPD are not widely accessible and/or do not meet the needs of this population. The purpose of this proof-of-concept study was to determine the feasibility of a peer support and participation-based physical activity intervention for individuals living with COPD.
Methods: Four individuals living with COPD (50% female, aged 76-90 yrs) participated in an 8-week online physical activity and peer support intervention. The intervention consisted of 30 minutes of kinesiologist-led physical activity, based on the daily and social activities of individuals with COPD, and 30 minutes of moderated peer support. Adherence and engagement were collected through the intervention, and personal goals regarding participation in daily and social activities were collected pre- and post-intervention to determine feasibility. Interviews were conducted post-intervention.
Results: Participants attended 98% of the intervention session, were highly engaged throughout the intervention, and 75% of participants improved their participation goals from pre- to post-intervention. Upon interview, participants indicated that the exercises were challenging but showed them what they were capable of doing. The peer support component was seen as beneficial as participants felt understood, built relationships throughout the program, and increased their motivation to continue exercising individually post-intervention.
Conclusions: Based on feasibility criteria, results suggest that the peer support and participation-based intervention is feasible for individuals living with COPD. The intervention should proceed to pilot testing to assess the potential efficacy of the intervention compared to a control group.