Making a ComeBACK to physical activity

Making a ComeBACK to physical activity

COVID-19 has changed the way we live in Australia. Whilst we are encouraged to limit our contact with others to reduce the spread of COVID-19, it has restricted the opportunities we have to be active in our lives. Being active is an important factor in maintaining our physical functioning and mental wellbeing, particularly in these challenging  times. But how active do we need to be?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that adults aged 65+ should be doing at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. This includes activities that incorporate fitness, strength, balance, and flexibility to improve or maintain physical functioning (such as walking and standing up from a chair) and to prevent falls. Guidelines are good at telling us how much activity we should be doing, but they may not be enough to change our behaviour without additional support.

The ComeBACK trial is looking for adults who have difficulty walking 800m to evaluate the effect of two phone-based interventions on improving physical activity and walking over 12 months. ComeBACK participants have come from a range of backgrounds, walking ability and experience with physical activity.

ComeBACK participant Carla said, “Setting the goals was a really good thing and having the prompt reminders to take time for yourself and stick to your goals”.

Participants are randomly assigned to one of three groups. The first group, Coaching to ComeBACK, receives fortnightly health coaching calls with a physiotherapist for 6 months to support and progress their current levels of activity. The second group, Texting to ComeBACK, receives an initial phone call with a physiotherapist followed by text messages for 6 months to motivate them to get active. The third group also receives the one-off phone call and text messages, but during the second half of the trial.

People who have been involved in the trial have reported benefits across all ComeBACK groups. Coaching to ComeBACK participant, Suzie, reported “My coach is very personable and informative whilst supportive and encouraging. It’s been perfect support. Also I hear from some of the participants in the trial who were recently interviewed on the ABC Radio National segment Sporty.

If you are interested in joining the ComeBACK trial or to learn more, please get in touch with the research staff at comeback.trial@sydney.edu.au, or call (02) 8627 6235, or register your interest at www.comebacktrial.org.au

Image: Shutterstock

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