Physical Activity Coaching via Telehealth for People With Parkinson Disease: A Cohort Study

Hai Jung Steffi Shih, Chelsea E. Macpherson, Miriam King, Elizabeth Delaney, Yu Gu, Katrina Long, Jennifer Reid, Julie Fineman, Geraldine Yu, Jamie Rieger, Ashrita Satchidanand, Hiral Shah, Roy N. Alcalay, Lori Quinn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Purpose: Physical activity (PA) has many known benefits for people with Parkinson disease (PD); however, many people do not meet recommended levels of frequency or intensity. We designed Engage-PD, a PA coaching program delivered via telehealth and grounded in self-determination theory to promote PA uptake and facilitate exercise self-efficacy in people with Parkinson disease. This study aimed to determine the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of Engage-PD, and to explore whether baseline characteristics were associated with outcomes. Methods: A single cohort of people with PD (n = 62, Hoehn and Yahr I-III) participated in the 3-month Engage-PD program, which consisted of up to 5 telehealth coaching sessions delivered by physical therapists. Feasibility was evaluated based on recruitment and retention rates, along with participants' feedback. Planned and unplanned PA, exercise self-efficacy (ESE), and individualized goals were assessed pre- and post-intervention. Relationships between baseline characteristics and changes in planned PA and ESE were also evaluated. Results: Recruitment (62%) and retention (85%) rates were high, and the intervention was well accepted and perceived by the participants. From pre- to postintervention, participants increased planned PA (d = 0.33), ESE (d = 1.20), and individualized goal performance (d = 1.63) and satisfaction (d = 1.70). Participants with lower baseline planned PA experienced greater improvements in planned PA, and those with lower baseline ESE experienced greater improvements in ESE. Discussion and Conclusions: A telehealth PA coaching program for people with PD was feasible and potentially efficacious. Physical therapist-led coaching may be an important component of a consultative model of care starting early in the disease process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-250
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurologic Physical Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
Saul Zuchman
Parkinson's Foundation


    • behavior change
    • coaching
    • exercise
    • Parkinson disease
    • physical activity


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