ATLANTA, Feb. 6, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Vivo, the country’s premier strength program for older adults, and Intermountain Health, one of the nation’s leading health systems, are teaming up to study the impact of Vivo’s online, live, and interactive small group fitness program with older adults suffering from knee osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and a leading cause of disability in older adults, affecting more than 32 million Americans. It can occur when cartilage—the connective tissue that protects joints and bones—breaks down, causing joint pain and stiffness, that can inhibit physical activity, cause a loss of mobility, and negatively impact quality of life.
Treatment can range from anti-inflammatory medications to surgical joint replacement. Encouragingly, exercise programs have been shown to reduce joint pain and increase joint flexibility, muscle strength and endurance.
Together, Vivo and Intermountain Health will evaluate the impact of Vivo’s exercise classes on lower extremity strength in adults over the age of 55 who, because of osteoarthritis, are sedentary or not meeting recommended physical activity guidelines.
Vivo’s small group classes are led by trainers with expertise in modifying exercises to accommodate varying levels of mobility in older adults. The classes are live and interactive and conducted over Zoom.
“We’re excited to partner with Intermountain Health to find a safe, scalable intervention to a problem that affects so many people and be able to reach them wherever they are,” said Vivo’s CEO Eric Levitan.
The study will be a randomized controlled trial – the most effective research method to measure the effectiveness of an intervention. Participants will be placed in one of two groups for six months: they will either take Vivo classes twice weekly or participate in a separate at-home exercise regimen.
Dr. Anthony Beutler, associate medical director and fellowship director for sports medicine for Intermountain, is leading the study. His clinical team will measure outcomes at three, six, and twelve months to assess strength and function, pain level, risk of falling, and level of engagement and adherence to an exercise program.
The Intermountain Health team seeks to enroll 250 individuals in the trial, beginning recruitment in early 2024.
“Physical activity and exercise are key components of a comprehensive treatment plan for osteoarthritis pain,” said Dr. Beutler. “We’re excited to explore the effect of new ways patients can participate in supervised exercise when leaving the home is difficult.”
If Vivo is proven effective in improving lower extremity strength, such a discovery may permit the development of a non-surgical treatment for knee osteoarthritis.
Data collected during the study may also improve clinical and operational decisions, potentially yielding a more efficient and cost-effective model of care for patients, and especially reaching a rural patient population.
Levitan believes the partnership with Intermountain Health could be a model for future research, as well.
“The results of this study could lead to an accessible and cost-friendly solution that could be adapted to other chronic conditions seen in older adults, such as prediabetes and osteoporosis,” said Levitan.