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

J Neurol Phys Ther. 2022 Oct 1;46(4):240-250. doi: 10.1097/NPT.0000000000000410. Epub 2022 Sep 1.


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.Video Abstract available for more insights from the authors (see the Video, Supplemental Digital Content 1, available at:

Trial registration: NCT04922219.

Publication types

  • Video-Audio Media
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Mentoring*
  • Parkinson Disease*
  • Telemedicine*

Associated data