Exploring physical activity behaviour - needs for and interest in a technology-delivered, home-based exercise programme among patients with intermittent claudication.

Publication Date: 
Nov 16, 2017

BACKGROUND: Supervised walking is a first line therapy in peripheral arterial disease (PAD) with complaints of intermittent claudication. However, uptake of supervised programmes is low. Home-based exercise seems an appealing alternative; especially since technological advances, such as tele-coaching and tele-monitoring, may facilitate the process and support patients when adopting a physically active lifestyle. To guide the development of such an intervention, it is important to identify barriers of physical activity and the needs and interests for technology-enabled exercise in this patient group.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: PAD patients were recruited at the vascular centre of UZ Leuven (Belgium). A questionnaire assessing PA (SF-International Physical Activity Questionnaire), barriers to PA, and interest in technology-supported exercise (Technology Usage Questionnaire) was completed. Descriptive and correlation analyses were performed.

RESULTS: Ninety-nine patients (76 men; mean age 69 years) completed the survey. Physical activity levels were low in 48 %, moderate in 29 %, and high in 23 %. Intermittent claudication itself is the most important barrier for enhanced PA, with most patients reporting pain (93 %), need for rest (92 %), and obstacles worsening their pain (74 %) as barriers. A total of 93 % participants owned a mobile phone; 76 % had Internet access. Eighty-seven reported the need for an exercise programme, with 67 % showing interest in tele-coaching to support exercise. If technology was available, three-quarter stated they would be interested in home-based tele-coaching using the Internet (preferably e-mails, 86 %); 50 % via mobile phone, 87 % preferred text messages. Both were inversely related to age (rpb = 0.363 and rpb = 0.255, p < 0.05). Acquaintance with elastic bands or gaming platforms was moderate (55 and 49 %, respectively), but patients were interested in using them as alternatives (84 and 42 %). Interest in platforms was age-dependent (rs = -0.508, p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: PAD patients show significant interest in technology-delivered exercise, offering opportunities to develop a guided home-based exercise programme.