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Tele-Exercise as a Promising Tool to Promote Exercise in Children With Cystic Fibrosis


Introduction: Cross-infection risk from contact exposure limits exercise opportunities in children with cystic fibrosis (CF). The purpose of this study is to evaluate the feasibility of a new live-streamed platform which delivered supervised and interactive group exercise sessions to CF children via digital devices while avoiding contact exposure. Methods: Ten CF children participated in a 6-week tele-exercise program. The program consisted of three 30-min sessions per week for a total of 18 sessions and included aerobic, resistance, and flexibility exercises. Sessions were streamed via a HIPAA compliant VSee telemedicine platform. Instructors and participants were able to interact in real-time online. Heart rate (HR) monitors were used to evaluate exercise intensity with a goal of moderate-vigorous physical activity ≥10 min, 70% of the sessions. System usability scale (SUS) and qualitative questionnaires were used to gauge participants' satisfaction and feedback. Results: On average participants attended 85% of the sessions. For the overall sessions participants exercise 21.1 ± 6.9 min at moderate-vigorous physical activity. Nine out of 10 participants used the exercise platform without parental guidance. Qualitative questionnaire and System Usability Scale (SUS) indicated that all participants enjoyed the tele-exercise program and highly rated the exercise platform 90.8 out of 100 (passing > 68). Conclusions: Tele-exercise platform is a promising new approach to promote exercise in children with CF. The online platform allows supervised virtual group exercise experience with optimal participation and no risk for cross-infection. This approach might prove to be useful in enhancing the use of exercise as therapy in children with CF.

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