Effectiveness of tele-exercise training on physical fitness, functional capacity, and health-related quality of life in non-hospitalized individuals with COVID-19: The COFIT-HK study

Tsz Chun Eric POON, Fenghua SUN, Choi Yeung Andy TSE, Jaclyn Hei TSANG, Aaron Yiu Huen CHUNG, Yannis Yuet Yan LAI, Sam Wing Sum WONG

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Abstract

Background: The use of tele-exercise programs as an option for post-COVID-19 rehabilitation has been suggested, but its effectiveness in non-hospitalized individuals is not well understood. 

Objective: This study aimed to determine the effectiveness of an 8-week tele-exercise training program (COFIT-HK) on physical fitness, functional capacity, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in non-hospitalized post-COVID-19 individuals. 

Methods: Forty-one non-hospitalized individuals (age:47.4 ± 7.8 yrs) who had COVID-19 history were divided into two groups: the tele-exercise training group (TELE; n = 21) and the non-intervention control group (CON; n = 20). TELE engaged in online supervised multicomponent low-to-moderate intensity exercise training (including respiratory muscle, aerobic, and resistance training) three times per week, whereas CON received standardized educational leaflets based on World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for post-COVID-19-related illness rehabilitation only. Various components of physical fitness, functional capacity, and HRQoL were assessed at baseline and after the 8-week intervention. 

Results: TELE showed significant improvements in handgrip strength, arm flexibility, functional lower extremity endurance, and HRQoL after the 8-week intervention (all p < 0.05, ES = 0.50–1.10). When comparing the groups, TELE demonstrated significantly greater improvements in both the physical and mental component summary scores of HRQoL compared to CON (both p < 0.05). Other outcomes did not reveal significant group differences. 

Conclusion: Our tele-exercise intervention was effective in improving physical fitness, functional capacity and HRQoL among non-hospitalized post-COVID-19 individuals. Further research is needed to explore the utility and limitations of tele-exercise programs for post-COVID-19 rehabilitation and beyond. Copyright © 2024 The Society of Chinese Scholarson Exercise Physiology and Fitness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-139
JournalJournal of Exercise Science and Fitness
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

Citation

Poon, E. T.-C., Sun, F., Tse, A. C.-Y., Tsang, J. H., Chung, A. Y.-H., Lai, Y. Y.-Y., & Wong, S. W.-S. (2024). Effectiveness of tele-exercise training on physical fitness, functional capacity, and health-related quality of life in non-hospitalized individuals with COVID-19: The COFIT-HK study. Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness, 22(2), 134-139. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesf.2024.01.003

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