The University of Saskatchewan has launched a virtual online program to provide those with neurological conditions with a way to stay active during the coronavirus pandemic.
NeuroSask: Stay Active and Connect, which started on April 23, offers hour-long sessions from researchers and medical experts at the university, divided into two parts.
“The first 30 minutes is a physiotherapist-led movement class,” said Sarah Donkers, a USask physiotherapist.
“We target individuals’ mobility impairments. It’s a seated exercise class.”
The second portion of the class allows participants to connect with a medical expert, who changes from week to week.
The idea came about as a way to stay connected during times of social isolation due to COVID-19.
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“People who are moving and being socially connected experience better health,” said physical therapist and USask associate professor Katherine Knox.
“We are hoping through delivering the program people just are a little healthier going through the pandemic.”
Paul Gustafson, who said he heard of the program from a contact at Spinal Cord Injury Saskatchewan, said the first session far exceeded his expectations.
“(It’s) a movement-based session in the same position, so for somebody who is unable to stand,” explained Gustafson, who is a first-time participant with quadriplegia.
“When you first think about how much can you do, well, I will tell you, she had our heart rate going pretty good.”
So far, 300 participants from across the country have registered for the free program, which has a capacity of roughly 1,000 people.
Its goal is to reach as many people as possible.
“We’re having a venue to ask their questions and we try to provide the support and answers that we do have within our scope of expertise,” Donkers said.
The video conference takes place every Tuesday and Thursday at 2 p.m. CT, with sessions running for nine weeks through June.
For more information visit their website.