Coronavirus: USask program helping those with neurological conditions stay active

Click to play video: 'New online program helping those with neurological conditions'
New online program helping those with neurological conditions
WATCH: NeuroSask: Active and Connect is an online program launched to assist those with neurological conditions such as MS, Parkinson's disease and spinal cord injuries – May 8, 2020

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.”

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The second portion of the class allows participants to connect with a medical expert, who changes from week to week.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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