The SAGE yoga trial: Online delivery during COVID19
Background: Challenging balance can prevent falls. Yoga practice can be a source for it, although the effect of yoga on falls has not been evaluated.
Aims: The NHMRC-funded Successful AGEing (SAGE) yoga trial aims to establish the effect of two distinct yoga exercise programs on falls rate of community-dwelling people aged 60 years+. This presentation outlines the key learnings from transitioning to online classes once the COVID19 pandemic interrupted face-to-face interactions.
Methods: Participants were randomised to either: (1) the SAGE yoga exercise program, 40 weeks of twice-weekly supervised classes focussed on standing balance-challenging; or (2) a seated yoga relaxation program, 2 supervised classes followed by unsupervised practice. Primary outcome is the rate of falls in the 12 months post randomisation via self-reported surveys and follow-up phone calls.
Results: 700 participants were recruited from September/2019 to October/2021. Since April/2020 face-to-face classes were delivered online via Zoom. The new classes started after were completely delivered online. The change to online classes expanded recruitment locations and offered people in regional and remote settings the possibility to participate. The public response to this was outstanding, showing that access to supervised online physical activity is indeed valued. Providing technology support, an initial one-on-one online introduction to the yoga instructor and access to class-specific Whatsapp groups to promote social connection, have contributed to the success of the online delivery format.
Conclusions: Considering the impact of COVID19 on our ways of living, further exploration of online fall prevention exercise programs is crucial and can be an inclusive practice to be scaled up.