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The ImPACt study - Improving physical activity of older people in the community

Principal Investigator: Dr Stephen Lim

Team members: Dr Stephen Lim (NIHR Clinical Lecturer in Geriatric Medicine, Academic Geriatric Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton), Professor Helen Roberts (Professor of Medicine for Older People, Academic Geriatric Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton), Dr Kinda Ibrahim (Senior Research Fellow, Academic Geriatric Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton), Esther Clift (Consultant Practitioner in Frailty, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Lymington New Forest Hospital), Samantha Agnew (Head of Clubs Services, The Brendoncare Foundation, Winchester)

Start: 1 February 2020 Ends: 31 October 2021

Project Partners:

University of Southampton, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Brendoncare.

Lay summary

Physical activity is important for older people. It has many benefits including maintaining older people’s ability to perform activities of daily living, be independent, and improve their well-being. However, many older adults living in the community do not engage in regular physical activity.


We want to know if we can train volunteers to run exercise sessions for older people who attend community clubs with a focus on social interaction. We are interested in finding out the views and experiences of older people and volunteers taking part and what factors may promote or hinder the delivery and uptake of the exercise sessions.

Design and methodsThe study will take place remotely via video in community social clubs managed by Brendoncare. We will invite older adults (members) who attend these clubs to join an exercise session during their usual weekly meeting. We will develop and evaluate a training package for the volunteers who lead these clubs to enable them to run the exercise sessions. Participants will be encouraged to performed exercises to help improve their muscle strength and balance, with the use of elastic resistance bands. We will measure how active and physically able the club members are before we introduce the exercise sessions. After 6 months of these exercise sessions, we will repeat these measurements to see if this has improved their physical activity levels and physical abilities. We will also interview volunteers and club members to gain their views and experience of the exercise sessions.

Findings from this study will help us understand if it is feasible for volunteers to deliver exercises for older adults in community clubs and how acceptable the intervention is for older adults and volunteers. This study will begin in February 2020 and is expected to conclude in October 2021.


ImPACT volunteers recognised for their work

ImPACt exercise video


IMPACT Exercise with Steve and Esther from NIHR ARC Wessex on Vimeo.

Impact Exercise video using Resistance bands - Dr Sam Meredith watch the video on Vimeo

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